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The Most Expensive Lighthouse (Part 1)

A forum to discuss lighthouses on the West Coast Region of the US
(California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii)

Postby BMR » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:53 pm


There are two pips in a beaut, four beauts in a lulu,
eight lulus in a doozy, and sixteen doozies in a humdinger.
No one knows how many humdingers there are in a lollapalooza.
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Postby island » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:53 pm


By the time the steam side-wheeler Brother Jonathan foundered on the rocks on July 30, 1865, three months after the end of the Civil War, navigation charts were identifying the hazard by its present name, “St. George Reef.” The Brother Jonathan disaster, in which 225 lives were lost, prompted the Lighthouse Board to request funds to build a lighthouse on the reef. It took 17 years for the initial funds to come through


The fact is the Brother Jonathan struck an uncharted (unknown) ledge located in the deep water passage at the south side of this reef. This lighthouse was later constructed on a ledge about two miles north. If such lighthouse had existed at the time of this shipwreck it in no way could have identified this uncharted ledge.

The Lighthouse Board did not promptly request funds for this lighthouse and then not until 1874. The only funds previously available were needed to repair the damages done to the lighthouse system during the Civil War and to catch up with needed repair and maintenance of other lighthouses and lightships neglected during the war. Further, the need for a lighthouse in this region had been identified before this ship was wrecked and for reasons of numbers of prior wrecks on this reef.

The fate of the Brother Jonathan was essentially sealed when it embarked from San Fransisco the day before it was wrecked. The ship was crippled from prior collision damage (patched but not repaired) and was riding far too low in the the water for being loaded with cargo well above the safe weight limit.
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