Since the inception of our Association in 1983, we have been conducting oral histories of people who served or grew up at Great Lakes lighthouses in order to ensure that their stories are recorded for future generations.
In order to make these oral histories as widely available as possible, we have been publishing them in book form, with our first such book Living at a Lighthouse, edited by by Luanne Gaykowski Kozma being published in 198. While no longer in publication, copies of this 104-page book are widely available in libraries throughout the Great Lakes region, and serve to provide great insight into the lives of lighthouse keepers and their families.
Our second book of oral histories Reliving Lighthouse Memories, was compiled by Sandra Planisek and published in 2004. This 262-page work is particularly important since it provides first-hand insight into life in during the transitional from the Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard, and the subsequent automation of lighthouses throughout the Great Lakes through the 1960's.
With the days of manned lighthouses well behind us, the number of people who served as lighthouse keepers or who grew up at lighthouses is sadly diminishing on a daily basis, and it is becoming of increasing importance to record their memories in their own words before they are completely lost. To this end, we continue to interview people, and welcome participation of anyone who would like to sit down with such people and find out what life was like in those earlier days.
Also, if you know of any people who served or grew up at lighthouses that you feel should be interviewed, please contact us and let us know about them, and we will see if we can dispatch someone in that area to record their stories.