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Echoes from the lighthouse tower

August 19, 2012

Footsteps on the metal stairs winding up the tower echo up and down the narrow walls, and although in the present time seem to resonate or speak of the past. How many times have former inhabitants tread the very same steps carrying out their lighthouse duties over a century ago? Every four hours the lens clock mechanism of weights and pulleys had to be wound to rotate the lamp, oil and supplies had to go up and down the dumbwaiter, and certainly the lens and glass housing had to be cleaned, especially when powered by whale and kerosene fuel. Lake Erie mariners counted on its light to help guide them through dark nights and treacherous waters, making it a critical job to be taken very seriously. If the walls and echoes could tell a story, it would be one of intrigue of by-gone days. The Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum, part of the Seaway Trail and National Register of Historic Places, may be toured May through October. From the perspective of a volunteer tour guide, this week's column continues with its "virtual tour" with emphasis on the tower itself.



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