National Geographic : 1913 Jan
THE FIRST EDDYSTONE LIGHT, OFF THE SC COAST OF ENGLAND The Eddystone is the most famous lighthou the world. Four towers have been built on dangerous rock. This, the first one, of fan design, was completed in 1699 and destroyed i great storm of November, 1703, and the keeper the engineer who built it were lost (see page I The oldest of the existing lighthouse structures in this country is the tower at Sandy Hook, New York, built in 1764. The lighthouse at Cape Henlopen, Dela ware, was completed the same year. These are similar in design-massive structures of stone and brick, with walls 7 feet thick at the base (see page 5). PERSONAL ATTENTION GIVEN BY PRESI DENT WASHINGTON TO LIGHT HOUSE MATTERS Massachusetts, in ceding her light houses, showed her caution with respect to the new government by providing "that if the United States shall at any time hereafter neglect to keep lighted, and in repair, any one or more of the lighthouses aforesaid, that then the grant of such lighthouse or lighthouses so neg lected shall be void and of no effect;" and also, "that if the United States shall at any time hereafter make any compen sation to any one of the United States for the cession of any light house . . . like compensation be made to this Commonwealth by the United States, for the ces sion of the Light Houses afore said, in proportion to their re spective values." There are many interesting documents in the early archives of the service showing the atten tion given by high officers of the government to matters of light house detail. President Wash ington personally approved such contracts as these: for the pur chase of spermaceti oil for Cape Henry lighthouse, "to erect, sink, and build a well for water" for Cape Henlopen lighthouse, and for making "a mooring chain for one of the Floating Beacons of the Delaware Bay." On the last document appears the endorse ment, all in Washington's hand )UTH writing, "April 27th, 1793, Ap proved, so far as it respects the lse in new chain; but is there an entire this loss of the old one? Go. Wash tastic ington." There is a proposal for n and Tybee lighthouse "for a hanging 7). stair case for the sume of £16o," or "should a plain square stair case be preferred," for £I10, with the endorsement, "Approved with the plain stair case. G°. Washington." During the earlier administrations the salaries of lighthouse-keepers were fixed by the President, and appointments of keepers were approved by him. The following document is of interest as showing the salaries then paid: "UNITED STATES, July I8th, 1793. "By the President's command T. Lear has the honor to inform the Secretary of the Treasury, that the President hav ing duly considered the Representation of the Commissioner of the Revenue and the other documents relative to the com pensations of the Keepers of the Light Houses, which were put into his hands by the Secretary, approves of the altera tions of certain compensations as sug gested by the Secretary, viz: "Ist. For the Keeper of the Light Houses on Thatcher's Island per annum, 2662/3 doll.