A fortnight ago, I featured in an article some fantastic paintings of fishermen at sea. I called these toilers of the sea “the invisible ones” to debunk the IMO-initiated myth of seafarers as being invisible to the rest of humanity. There is another group of workers who fall under the same category: lighthouse keepers.

The following photographs provide a rare glimpse of what life was like in the old days for the lighthouse keepers and their families. They can be called gems inasmuch as the keepers are a vanishing breed.

Ashtabula Light Station, at the East pier at the entrance to Ashtabula River, Ohio, 1859
Photographer unidentified
Courtesy of Ashtabula Archive on Flickr

Probably Flatflesa lighthouse on the coast of Møre og Romsdal (Norway), c. 1900-1910
Photo by Anders Folkestadås
Courtesy of Fylkesarkivet i Vestland (County Archives of Vestland)

Lighthouse & keeper at Ipswich Beach, May 30, 1900
Photographer unidentified
Courtesy of Camdem Public Library, Maine, USA

Family group at the lighthouse on Goode Island, Torres Strait, c. 1909
Photographer unidentified
Courtesy of the State Libary of Queensland, Australia

At Måholmen lighthouse (Norway), c. 1900-1910
Anna Rønestad Vold is milking the goats on the staircase of the lighthouse. Anna worked as a cook on Måholmen lighthouse in Nord-Trøndelag.
Courtesy of Fylkesarkivet i Vestland (The County Archives in Vestland)

The family of the keeper of the Brüsterort lighthouse (now Taran lighthouse, Russia) in the engine room, 1920
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Interior of the lighthouse on Cape Rozewie, 1935
Photographer unidentified
Courtesy of Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe (National Digital Archives of Poland)

Fannie Salter, keeper of Maryland’s Turkey Point Light, polishes a Fresnel lens, date unknown
Photographer unidentified
Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense

Ms. Odium and husband in their lighthouse home, 1954
Photograph by Gar Lunney
Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada (LAC)
Licence: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Gordon Odium, lighthouse keeper, 1954
Photograph by Gar Lunney
Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada (LAC)
Licence: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Richard Mahler is the Fire Island School’s youngest pupil and lives the farthest away. His father is the lighthouse keeper and, since the lighthouse is about four miles away, school is a long ride by jeep, (Long Island, New York), 1952
Photo by Roger Higgins
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, USA

Know what the duties of U.S. lighthouse keepers were in this 5-page document:

 

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