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Archive for January 25th, 2019

by Sam Juliano

The lighthouse is a national treasure.  Though few are now functional, their appearance is a reminder of how they once served as guardian and protector, alerting ships of rocky coastlines and dating back to antiquity signaling the entry to a port, which bereft of their guidance would compel ships to reach their destination under the dangerous cloak of darkness.  In the modern era they have been noted to help vessels navigate reefs and to assist in aerial negotiation.  It is no wonder that this unique architectural marvel, a circular tower with an inside spiral staircase and lofty conservation deck has fascinated people from all walks of life and has been a focus in the arts.  Lighthouses have been prominent in paintings, in literature and in film and song.  The lighthouse in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island provides a rather sinister set piece while in one of English writer Virginia Woolf’s most celebrated novels, To the Lighthouse, set in Scotland,  it is the integral marker in the work’s dramatic arc.  A plethora of historic lighthouses dot the globe, and a fair representation are in the United States.  The resplendent mahogany red Ponce de Leon lighthouse in Florida is quite the site to behold, the Boston Light beacon on the coast of Brewer Island in the Boston Harbor in the oldest in the nation and the famous blue and white-striped Cape Hatteras lighthouse at the outermost point on the North Carolina cape is the tallest brick structure in the US.  Lighthouses have always ranked among the most featured subjects on postage stamps.  Perhaps the most popular of these is the 29 cent Sandy Hook, New Jersey Lighthouse stamp in the Americana series releases by the postal service in April of 1978.  A sublime drawing of the lighthouse in dark blue on a light blue base and the two side “Lonely Beacon Protecting Those Upon the Sea” curving around the left side and bottom border made is a big favorite of collectors and lighthouse fans. (more…)

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