Lighthouses of North America is a beautiful tribute to 71 lighthouses in the United States and Canada. The selection covers the full range of lighthouse architectural styles and represents all regions of the continent. The book opens with a brief but fascinating history of lighthouses, which traces their use from the Romans to the 'golden age' of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when lighthouses became a strategic and commercial asset to seafarers. Readers will discover the fascinating details that give lighthouses their spirit, such as Portland Head Lighthouse, the favourite haunt of poet Henry Wadsworth, providing inspiration for his poem 'The Lighthouse'; how early rocket launches damaged the original Cape Canaveral Lighthouse; that a friendly ghost named Rue is said to wander the grounds of Oregon's Heceta Head Lighthouse; and how the Race Rocks Lighthouse in British Columbia guided vessels into port during the Fraser gold rush. Chapters focus on construction method and present each sentinel over a two- to six-page spread with a narrative description: Conical & Cylindrical Construction, such as the Fire Island Light off Long Island and the Three Sisters of Nauset in Massachusetts; Square Construction, such as the Holland Harbor Light in Michigan and the Presque Isle Light on Lake Erie; Hexagonal and Octagonal Construction, such as the Alcatraz Island Light in San Francisco Bay and the famous Peggy's Point Light in Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia; Skeletal Construction, such as the Sanibel Island Light on Florida's Gulf Coast and the Rawley Point Light in Wisconsin. Striking colour photographs show the lighthouse exteriors and interiors, and a facts box details location, tower height, focal plan, daymark, light characteristics, year established and current use. Thoughtful essays describe the architecture of the essential spiral staircase, lost lighthouses, how the lights work, the light-keepers, haunted lighthouses, the future of lighthouses and the most recognized and unusual of lighthouses, the Statue of Liberty. For the traveller, there is a list of North American Lights and useful resources. Lighthouse aficionados are many in number and all will enjoy this stunning book.
Sylke Jackson is a freelance writer and holds a BA cum laude in Literature from Yale University. Her passion for architectural preservation has led her to work on historic buildings in this country and abroad. Jackson teaches high school English and writing. She also races Lightning sailboats on the Hudson, and always keeps a grateful eye on the lighthouse at Sleepy Hollow, New York.