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Touring the National Aids to Navigation Museum in Yorktown

Just got back from a lighthouse trip? Have you just finished photographing every aspect of one lighthouse? Post the pictures here! Lighthouse-related photos are also welcome.

Postby vacastle » Fri May 27, 2005 11:18 am


Yesterday, I was royally treated to a tour of the USCG Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia. As many times as I've been to Yorktown, I had no idea this beautiful facility was right there on the waterfront near the battleground.

I did know that the Coast Guard was in Yorktown...somewhere, and yes, I had heard that they had a few lenses on display.

The Training Center, situated on the York River at Wormley Creek, is the Coast Guard's largest training command, providing instruction in all of the Coast Guard's operational programs. Located there is the National Aids to Navigation School, and inside this school on the first deck is an atrium, home to eleven 1st through 6th Order Fresnel Lenses, along with other aids to navigation, and many artifacts.

My host and tour guide for the day was CDR John Little, Chief Fifth USCG Aids to Navigation, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the Bodie Island Lens Transfer Ceremony. We were joined at the Yorktown Pub at lunchtime by the school chief, LCDR Jim Bellaire.
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CDR Little is standing beside a lightship lens, which Harbour Lights recently released as a miniature and called it the "Yorktown Lightship Lens" having used this as their model. A HL version, a gift from Harbour Lights, is displayed in LCDR Bellaire's office. The lens pictured at the right is a 4th Order Fixed.

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Some on-site training is featured at the entrance to the school.
And more...
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Looking down into the atrium from the balcony. Pictured is a 1st Order with a 2nd order bi-valve...
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Here's a close up of the 2nd Order Bi-Valve which came from the Dry Tortuges Light in Florida.
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And an inside view...
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Here's the 1st Order with me in front. The lens stands 10' 7" including the base and is 6'1" across the inside at the focal plane.
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A 4th Order Bi-Valve with a rotating drum...
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More coming in the next post...

Judy
Last edited by vacastle on Tue May 31, 2005 6:58 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby vacastle » Fri May 27, 2005 11:21 am


Continuing on,

4th Order Fresnel Lens; a rotating drum lens with 12 bull's eyes. Built by L. Sautter & Co, Paris France.
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For a change of pace, a buoy lantern. A 6th Order can be seen in the background.
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Automatic bulb changers...
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A 3rd Order. Beside it to the left is a model of the USCGC CACTUS.
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And since I messed up that ship model, here's another. This is the USCGC KICKAPOO. The cutter is 75' long with a 100' barge.
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And another...A 75' Buoy tender with barge
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A modern day range light system...
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And a 5th Order Fresnel
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And back outside, it's all there but the water. Is this a Coast Guard playing ground?
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A great day, and I wanted to share with you. If you haven't been, it's well worth the trip. You'll need to go through security and make an appointment, but it helps to just ride in with the Commander. :D

Judy
Last edited by vacastle on Tue May 31, 2005 7:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bert911 » Fri May 27, 2005 12:01 pm


Judy ~

Thanks for posting the pictures. I know this was one trip you have been looking forward to. Thanks for taking us all along with you.

A trip to Yorktown sounds like a great idea for a spring (or late summer) OBLHS retreat.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Robert
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Postby Maria » Fri May 27, 2005 12:08 pm


Wow, Judy. What an impressive collection of lenses. Thanks for sharing your experience. Any idea where the first order came from?

8)

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Postby vacastle » Fri May 27, 2005 12:20 pm


Yes, Maria. I meant to post that. This particular 1st Order came from Fowey Rocks, Florida.
http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=704

Most of the lenses didn't have this information posted. Instead, a photo was displayed of a lighthouse where you would find a similar lens.

Somehow I missed getting a photo of the 4th Order from Thimble Shoals.

Guess I got distracted. It was a beautiful place and a lot to take in.

Judy
Last edited by vacastle on Fri May 27, 2005 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Zachary » Fri May 27, 2005 12:26 pm


Woah! That is a must for any lighthouse fan! THX for showing Judy!
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Postby Hersh » Fri May 27, 2005 3:37 pm


All the signs I drove past for Yorktown last week, and I never even remembered that this was there. I was so close, now so far away....
Mike Hershberger
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Postby Grover1 » Fri May 27, 2005 5:33 pm


Judy,

Thanks for taking us along ... Do you need an invitation or is this facility open to the public?

Barry
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Postby vacastle » Sat May 28, 2005 8:39 am


Barry, it is by invitation and appointment.
But now we know how to do this. Coming back to Williamsburg this fall?

Judy
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Postby lighthsedi » Mon May 30, 2005 5:03 am


Judy;

This place is a gold mine!! Maybe we should go there for our Outer Banks Lighthouse Lovers' (OBLL) meeting/event. I think everyone would be thrilled to see all these lens. What do you think?
Diana

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Postby vacastle » Mon May 30, 2005 6:00 am


Hi Diana. Welcome back from vacation!

This is exactly what I've been thinking, and it's a definite possibility if we can figure out a date that works. I believe a guest speaker would be a good possibility as well.

And just look what's developed along the waterfront :D
http://www.yorkcounty.gov/riverwalk/index.htm

I mentioned in one of the top photos that the lightship lens pictured was used by Harbour Lights as a model for HL675 that was just released this year.

I was reminded over the weekend that the 4th Order with 12 panel bull's eyes was also used as Harbour Light's model for HL658, which has been my favorite of their lens models.

Thought that lens looked mighty familiar.

Judy
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Postby buster » Tue May 31, 2005 9:26 pm


Great photos. :)
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Postby jaclay » Sun Jun 26, 2005 1:58 pm


Thanks Judy

For all of us out here who love lenses this is one great place to stop. We will put it on the list of places to stop as we are traveling in Virginia. Keep up reporting on places like this so we fans can get the opportunity to see something not on your average travel guide.
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