Contents of National Lighthouse Museum Office Thrown Out!

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Postby Paul » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:55 pm

Contents of National Lighthouse Museum Office in St. George is Thrown in the Garbage.

Unexpected Find Becomes Tragedy when L.A.M.P. Organizer Ron Meisels is Mugged Returning to the Trashpile to Salvage the Large Quantity of Discarded NLM Items.

Most of the valuable NLM office material is now gone forever.

This should never have been allowed to happen! What a loss to the entire country. Who ever did this needs to be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This is a despicable act! What a disgrace!

Click on the following link for the full story:


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Postby Lighthouselin » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:55 am

This is just awful. I find it so sad that things like this could happen to Ron Meisels when he was only trying to save something improtant to lighthouse history. Whatever those guys got from him would not have been anything like the distress they caused. I don't suppose they will ever be found.
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Postby CHUCKX53 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:18 pm

Who put the stuff out for the trash in the first place ??

They're the Scoundrels..... :!:
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Postby Terry_Pepper » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:53 pm

While this is doubtless a travesty, and continued evidence that the National Lighthouse Museum is devolved yet further, to straighten-out some rumors and insinuations that have been flying around in emails, I have it on good authority that none of the Francis Ross Holland collection was in the discarded materials. The Holland material is all in secure storage in a well-known museum.
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Postby RonMeisels » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:53 am

Hi Terry, and everyone else

I'm glad to hear the the Francis Ross Holland Collection is in a safe place.

The National Lighthouse Museum on Staten is certainly in turmoil now and whatever happened to or what was in the rest of the discarded boxes and plastic bags from the office may remain a mystery and there has been such hard work done by so many people and now so few are left and it's hard to run a museum when not on site. This project needs a local board to get down and dirty and start the place up from the ground up. There are plenty of tourists arriving on the Staten Island Ferry every day to keep the place bustling and there are plenty of volunteers available from the high schools in the area to help do the day to day tasks till the ball gets rolling. The NYC EDC was very difficult to work with from the very beginning and there must be a plan about which parties are responsible for the different areas of the complex since several areas are open to the public 24 hours a day. One thing for sure is that the plan to revive the museum by allowing a developer onto the site is not working but seems to have been something the NYC EDC had planned from the beginning considering that they denied the entire site National and State Historic Landmark status as far back as 2000. The NYC EDC seems to recognize the history of the site though when applying for state funds to do repair work at the site. There were plans to bring a lightship to the pier from the very beginning and a lightship is mentioned in every proposal, plan, and pier renovation plan and several million were allocated specially to reinforce the pier so that it could bear the load of a lightship at berth. The Bullocks and Cleats that were originally on the pier for the ship to tie up to were removed at the beginning of the rehabilitation project and the project has just recently been completed yet the anchorage hardware has not been reinstalled?

If it matters since the Lightship Nantucket LV 112 is currently wallowing away in Oyster Bay, Long Island where it is deteriorating and not being cared for and the pier owners want the ship removed yesterday! The ship is available for
adoption by a non-profit able to invest in restoration work and use her for educational purposes and two non profit museums in Massachusetts are interested in acquiring her. If the NLM loses the ship things will look very bleak for a Nationally acclaimed museum on S.I.N.Y., the resulting museum if it is ever established would be a small remnant of what it has the potential to be and it would no doubt be a commercial tourist trap not a tribute to history and a community asset as a metaphoric guide for our common future.We need that ship back at the pier to spark local interest and to have a major artifact to display to the visitors. Without the ship, or the relocated spark plug lighthouse (originally planned to be the Romer Shoals Lighthouse but if available the Robbins Reef would of been fine, even the Ambrose Texas Rig type Light would make a great display in the public plaza but a lighthouse museum without a lighthouse or lightship would be very misunderstood by the tourist seeking a lighthouse museum.

I've recovered physically from the mugging though I am now a little nervous about venturing out at night alone, and the muggers did not really get much of value. My wallet contained no cash and I was able to cancel all my credit cards but the documents, lisences, cards, contact#'s were important to me, I had maybe $25 dollars in metrocards and a wendys coupon for a free meal. and also a Staples $6.00 rewards coupon which has been replaced, my cell phone was taken but it was a well worn older model without any extras and I was able to cancel the service quickly so it was not used, I also lost a nifty super bright LED flashlight. and of course the biggest loss was for the U.S. Lighthouse Establishment , Staten Island and the National Lighthouse Museum since I was not able to retrieve the majority of the discarded office material.

All in all there was lot lost by all that night and very little was gained by the muggers.

Maybe the shock of this crime and the loss of museum items of whatever sort is what can bring the rescue effort alive and save the NLM site for the Historic , Community resource that it was meant to be.


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Postby mikev » Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:57 am

A few of us have tried to stay with us through this museum process from the start of the steering committee consideration of museum feasibility, through site selection and then as representatives of the wider lighthouse preservation community through the museum organization startup and all the way through the struggles. It has not been easy, or pretty.

Ralph Eshelman, one of those on board from the beginning, has provided this summary to the community at large. You'll note that the lightship already is heading to Boston, after a long and difficult effort to find a host group that was not only interested but capable. Here's Ralph's summary:

Dear Lighthouse Preservation Community,

I am sorry to report to you that the National Lighthouse Museum’s future is in turmoil. Nearly eleven years ago in October of 1998, Staten Island was unanimously voted the official home of the National Lighthouse Center and Museum by the National Lighthouse Museum Steering Committee. This site was selected not only for its historical importance to lighthouse history, but also because of their strategic plan, financial commitment from the state, city and borough, and visitation projections. Since then over 8 million dollars has been spent on stabilization and renovation of the historic buildings at the former National Lighthouse Depot (largely from state, city and borough funds). Additionally, over a million dollars has been spent to renovate the waterfront plaza and pier. The NLM board has raised well over a million dollars for a business plan, three exhibit plans, educational programing, staff salaries, and operating costs (largely from private, corporate, and grant funds). During this time the museum has gone through three executive directors.

In September 2005 New York City Economic Development Corporation requested proposals for development of the depot site. Two of the historic buildings (Machine Shop [bldg 11] and Lamp Shop [bldg 10]) were designated for use by the National Lighthouse Museum. The NLM board was requested to hold off on raising capital funds toward the project until a developer was selected and final develop plans were approved. Furthermore the NLM board could not reach an agreement with the city to allow it to move its lightship Nantucket to the pier where it was planned to open the ship for temporary exhibits and from it operate its business office.

NYCEDC selected Triangle Equities Corporation to develop the Staten Island Depot Property. Many historic preservationists including many NLM board members became concerned about the ultra modern high rise design in the proposal which if built would overshadow and crowd the historic depot property. The historic brick wall surrounding the depot property would be destroyed if this plan were to be carried out. The NY State Historic Office for Preservation submitted a National Historic Landmark nomination for the depot site - this nomination was blocked by NYCEDC. Furthermore, a fire of a suspicions nature occurred in one of the historic buildings. Due to these delays some of the stabilization of the buildings is now in need of additional work.

The controversial group Lighthouse Action and Mobilization Planners (LAMP) was formed with the purpose to save the National Lighthouse Museum and maintain the historic integrity of the historic buildings and depot site. Meanwhile, NYCEDC has yet to get approval for its development plan from the Federal Transportation Administration which owns a major portion of the property. The NLM board became frustrated and ultimately deadlocked in its attempt to move forward. It is difficult to raise funds when your capital plan is on hold and the site’s development plan is under controversy. This, coupled with the poor economic climate, has caused a standstill in progress. Many members of the NLM board resigned either due to frustration and/or in a believe (not necessarily true) that as long as EDC is involved with this project the museum will never succeed.

The NLM board attempted to maintain an office with part-time staff near the depot site (not being able to use its lightship at the pier as desired). But as the months stretched into years the last staff person was eventually let go. All the office equipment, files, educational material, and some artifacts and archival records such as photographs were placed in storage. For reasons still completely unclear but apparently largely due to lack of communication, the landlord tossed these materials on the side of the street and except for a few retrieved boxes are now lost (or stolen). The good news is that nearly all of this material is replaceable. EDC has a complete (or nearly complete) set of all NLM plans and proposals. The Ross Holland library and archives is still intact at the Calvert Marine Museum where it has been stored for years pending the future opening of the museum.

Through the efforts of Jerry Roberts the NLM lightship Nantucket has found a home at the newly established National Lightship Museum in Boston. Due to a combination of all of the above but largely due to a lack of belief that anything will ever happen in Staten Island, many of the remaining board members propose that the board dissolve. There are still a few members who wish to push on. Their hope is that with improvement in the economy the site will eventually be developed and the two designated buildings described above will become the National Lighthouse Museum. EDC promises they are still willing to work with the NLM board if a new sustainable and feasible plan can be developed. In essence the NLM is back to square one - essentially where it was over ten years ago.

Blame can be pointed at the NLM board, EDC, the economy, and a whole host of other contributing factors (9/11 was another major blow for the project); but blame will not make a National Lighthouse Museum. I do not know what the future is for the NLM at Staten Island but as it stands now it is not bright. Without an infusion of new well connected, enthusiastic, and energetic board members NLM will soon die.
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Postby RonMeisels » Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:24 pm

I am truly saddened to hear that the Nantucket Lightship LV 112 has been sold and will probably not be part of any future plans of the NLM on Staten Island. There is a silver lining in that now necessary repairs and maintenance will be performed to preserve this ship for future generations to enjoy and learn from.

The Lighthouse Action and Mobilization Planners is not a controversial group at all if you respect history and community.

We only advocated for public use and access to our publicly owned historic waterfront property where the gates have been locked for over forty years. A public park for children to play and a bike path, maritime themed artifacts and a place for tourists to go when arriving at our shore? A world class tourist destination to revitalize our local economy and provide a cultural, recreational , and educational facility for all, there was no controversy only some behind closed door greedy conniving plans to deprive the public of what was rightfully theirs and instead give it to a developer to built luxury condo's and upscale stores which our neighbor does not really need. There are hundreds and hundred of empty stores and vacant luxury condo's already within 1/2 mile of the S.I. Ferry terminal but greed knows no limits, the NLM would of been the goose that laid the golden egg but the NYC EDC would rather kill the goose instead.

The controversy was that the NYC Economic Development Corporation did not care at all about the museum's success or the Nantucket Lightship.

Being selected for the NLM was dream come true for Staten Island, where besides having the honor of the having the largest garbage landfill in the world, most people knew Staten Island for our ferry and seldom ventured further ashore than the terminal where they reboarded to return to Manhattan. Even long time residents such as I were surprised too learn that S.I. had such an important role in U.S. Lighthouse Service history. Finally S.I. would have a national identity and what a beautiful and attractive one at that, LIGHTHOUSES, how many are there that do not like lighthouses? not many, and lighthouses exist all over the world, they truly are an attraction that would draw tourists to our shore from all over the country and the world.

Well it seems quite hopeless now for a prestigious national museum, the chance was squandered and many older residents and tourist who have been here have died and children have left and our urban environment is still declining.

I have been waiting for over forty years for our north shore to recover economically from the flight to suburbia and to the mall that caused our village towns and mom and pop stores to whither away and leave in the wake methadone centers and soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Maybe it's finally time for me to leave while I still have a decade or two of middle aged health on my side. Alas I watched the entire 10 years and read every word in the newspaper which time and again announced the soon to be opening National Lighthouse Museum. I even saw the Nantucket LV 112 with my own eyes at the fishing pier where it was berthed for a year or so before disappearing to Oyster Bay, Long Island.

The whole story is very sad, and disappointing and if there is any controversy it's why the museum did not succeed in all the years before it was publicly announced that the board was in the process of disbanding.

The Lighthouse Action and Mobilization Planners are not a controversial group, we are the community.
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Postby Grover1 » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:52 pm

Now someone cares? Must be an election year ... :wink:

From The Staten Island Advance ... http://www.silive.com/northshore/index. ... nt_ra.html
From The Village Voice ... http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninsca ... r_figh.php
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Postby Grover1 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:39 am

From The Staten Island Advance ...

http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/20 ... y_for.html

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