Born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1845, John Miles was a keeper in the United States Lighthouse Service who continued to serve after losing his leg. After the Civil War, Miles lived in Fernandina, Florida, and served at Amelia Island’s North Range Lights located in the extreme northeast corner of Florida. There he lived and worked from 1873 into the 1880s and likely until his death in 1895.
Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the Great Lakes. Aids to Navigation Team Detroit keeps the 197-year-old light shining.
The Thomas Point Shoal Light is the last screw-pile lighthouse in its original foundation in the United States and the last lighthouse that Coast Guardsmen served in on the Chesapeake Bay. It represents a shared history with both Aids to Navigation and maritime and Coast Guard ATON crews maintain the aid with the same dedication as the crews that came before them for the last 230 years.
The Alcatraz Lighthouse not only guides mariners through the San Francisco Bay but also welcomes tourists to the island that used to house America’s most notorious inmates. Alcatraz Island was first used for a fort and military prison before becoming the most famous and formidable federal penitentiary in the nation. Today, members of Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) San Francisco keep the famous Bay Area light shining.
On April 17, 1851, the newly constructed lighthouse at Minots Ledge collapsed into the sea surrounding the ledge killing both its lighthouse keepers. Located off the Massachusetts coast south of Boston, the failure of this state-of-the-art lighthouse had been in the making for years. The lighthouse was rebuilt and has withstood every subsequent gale, but the two keepers lost will remain an important chapter in the Coast Guard’s long blue line.
In the early days of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, tenders were vessels equipped with lifting apparatus to deliver heavy cargo and construction materials to lighthouses. Such was the case with Lighthouse Tender Van Santvoort that was later renamed Coeur de Leon, meaning lion-hearted. The tender supported the construction of the famous Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse and aided in the development of hot air balloon technology.
Travelers visiting Hawaii admire the beauty of the state’s lighthouses and their picturesque surroundings. However, these structures are hollow reflections of the native Hawaiians who stood the watch through good times and bad. As members of the long blue line, they helped build the history and heritage of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Five Finger Islands Lighthouse was built 115 years ago and became a part of the Coast Guard in 1939. The light once guided prospectors into southeast Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush and currently serves as a weather outpost for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Data Buoy Center, and remains a marine safety sight for the Alaska Marine Exchange. Hank O’Sullivan provides a first-person recounting of life as a member of the four-person crew stationed at the light in 1977.
America’s first lighthouse, Boston Light, is the only Coast Guard-manned lighthouse in the country. At 300 years old, it takes a special group of people to keep the light shining. Guiding a group of 32 assistant keepers is Coast Guard Auxiliarist Sally Snowman, the keeper of Boston Light.
Built in 1902 by the U.S. Lighthouse Service, which became part of the Coast Guard in 1939, the Five Finger Islands Light once guided prospectors into southeast Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush and still welcomes mariners, tourists and scientists today.