The lighthouse is a pervasive icon in our culture, often used to
symbolize positive qualities like faith, guidance, strength, and
steadfastness. No structures embody these qualities more than wave-swept
lighthouses, which were built to withstand the most extreme forces of
wind and ocean waves, often in isolated, rocky locations far offshore.
In the United States, the earliest attempts to build wave-swept
lighthouses in the 1830s led to several masterpieces of engineering, a
few of which are in the New England region.
This book primarily focuses
on six such structures: Whaleback (Maine), Saddleback Ledge (Maine),
Minot’s Ledge (Massachusetts), Halfway Rock (Maine), Graves Ledge
(Massachusetts), and Ram Island Ledge (Maine). All of these wave-swept
lighthouses stand in rugged testimony to the people who designed and
built them, and they also serve to remind us of the struggles and
sacrifices of the lighthouse keepers who “kept a good light” for so many
years before automation.