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LV 118 - The Cornfield

A forum to discuss Life Saving Stations and Lightships.

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Postby Grover » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:24 am


"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 tinypiney » Sat Oct 15, 2011 12:53 pm


I like the name "Cornfield" better than "Overfalls" :)
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Postby island » Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:45 pm


A rather unique photo showing the mast from below with the access ladder with safety hoops leading to the lantern on top.

http://lightshipoverfalls.shutterfly.com/850#845
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Postby CHUCKX53 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:34 am


"Cornfield" sounds corny, Tiny. I look at cornfields every day. "Overfalls" was a MUCH better name... :P
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Postby tinypiney » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:22 pm


I think "Cornfield" is funny because it's nowhere near a cornfield, it's in the middle of the water. I'd probably laugh if I saw a lightship named "cornfield"... :lol:
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Postby island » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:13 am


Perhaps it seems to be a funny name --- for those who don't know the history of the lighthouse service and do not know the criteria used for selecting the names of lighthouses and lightships. The Cornfield lightship station, originally named Cornfield Point was offshore from guess what? Cornfield Point, CT, a prominent point of land that long served as a fixed point visual aid for coastal navigation at the eastern end of Long Island Sound long before the creation of the lighthouse service. This point of land contained a large field of several acres where the local inhabitants grew corn dating back to the early 1600s. The corn field was readily visible from ships passing this point and thus served to aid navigation. When much later a lightship station was established nearby it was most appropriate to identify the station not with a name chosen at random but with the name of the nearby local navigation landmark and to paint the name of the landmark on the hull of ships assigned to the station.
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Postby tinypiney » Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:36 pm


Well sorry, I don't live in an area with lighthouses, so I don't know where they get their names from. I mean, other than Cape Hatteras or something. "Cornfield" would've made more sense if it was called "Cornfield Point". But I know that they don't name lightships like that.
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-Charles Simic
"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."
-Benjamin Franklin
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Postby CHUCKX53 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:43 pm


Thank you for that tale, Island. Makes sense, as most things do once they are understood. :D
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Postby island » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:17 pm


Why was Point omitted from Cornfield Point? The lighthouse service had a guideline for the size of the letters on lightships such that the words could be read easily at a significant distance from the ship. To have included Point would have required reducing the size of all the letters. Nantucket lightship station was Nantucket Shoals but for the reason stated Shoals was not included in the label on the ship but was included in the name on navigation charts and navigation aid published lists, and likewise for Cornfield Point.

With the criteria for a navigation aid name as it was established the lighthouse service had to take what was there with little choice. That field of corn on that point might well have been a bean field, tomato field, turnip field or some other crop. Maybe a cow or sheep grazing field.

Further up the coast near Westport, MA there was the Hen and Chickens lightship station located near the reef of that name. Nearby, though without lightship is Sow and Pigs Reef. Beats me as why those reefs were so named. At some locations there were choices such as Marshal Point Light in Maine that marks the narrow passage known as Herring Gut thus by choice it might have been named for this passage, not the point.

There was one location known as Woodpile Pile Point where a farmer piled firewood to dry year after year. It was a very large pile containing several years supply. This point with the woodpile long served as a significant navigation reference point for steamships traversing the coast. Then one day a steamship was in route down the coast in poor visibility and the captain was searching the shore to locate this reference point but he could not find it. He circled back once and then twice again to follow the shore but still no woodpile. The steamship was now two hours or more behind schedule. Soon a local fisherman came by in his small boat. The captain hailed the fisherman and asked which way to the woodpile point. The fisherman said the point is back a ways about a mile or so but the woodpile is gone. The farmer had recently died and his kin sold all the wood.

History is often fun!
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Postby tinypiney » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:23 am


I thought that's why the "point" wasn't on "Cornfield". That Wood Pile story is very interesting... must have been one helluva woodpile! :wink:
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-Charles Simic
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Postby island » Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:44 pm


For certain, a mighty fine pile it was. Hand sawed and split. Perfectly stacked. Not one stick out of place.
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