The present lighthouse was commissioned by the U.S.Government in 1867 to bebuilt adjacent to the site ofthe 1810 tower. The 104' towerand keeper's dwelling weredesigned by the notedarchitect Charles Clusky.Clusky and several of his crewmembers died of malariaduring construction. The lightand dwelling were completedin 1872.
The Lighthouse and Keeper'sDwelling Today
The lighthouse tower is of brickconstruction. Cylindrical in shape, it has a 129-step cast-iron spiralstaircase. The foundation is 8' below ground, 30' in diameter, and3' thick. In 1890, the fireproof oilhouse was constructed. The oil house was designed to hold450 5-gallon containers of keroseneto light the lamp in the lantern room.Later, large oil drums were installedin the oil house to contain the fuel.
The Keepers Life
Several lighthouse keepers, suchas C.O. Svendsen ( to your left), andtheir assistants did duty at thisstation. Often, the keeper's wifeserved as his assistant keeper. The lighthouse was completelyautomated in 1953.
The early lives' of the keepers werelonely and monotonous. The Keeper'smain task was to keep the lightburning from sunset to sunrise. Inaddition, he was responsible for routine maintenance of the lens,buildings such as barns, boat houses,residence, and grounds.
The pay was $400 to $600 per year inthe 19th Century. The highly prizedposition required the Keeper to be able to read and write, and sons oftenfollowed fathers and grandfathersfootsteps into the United StatesLighthouse Service.