Lighthouse Keepers were the ones who maintained the beacon shining from the lighthouse. Keeping that light on every moment that it's supposed to be on! The most important task for them. They had additional jobs that supported that prime job, that were behind the scenes. Much that you would think of as cleaning and housekeeping duties! But all were essential.
To be Hired as a Lighthouse Keeper was definitely not run of the mill! In the U.S., lighthouse keepers have been on the job as early as 1716.1
It's never been considered a well-paying job, although there were improvements in more recent years. However some were attracted to it, for their own reasons.
Those who hired on into lighthouse service didn't always stay at the same lighthouse for the duration of their work. They were reassigned to different locations at various times. But other times they were at a site consistently.3
Another occurrence was the lighthouse keeper's wives. A few considerations related to their circumstances. When going with their husbands to assignments, they helped with many duties. Yet they weren't paid as they weren't considered lighthouse employees. However, they were expected to be supportive of their lighthouse keeper husbands in performing these supporting activities.
After reporting to Treasury Dept. Auditors or the Lighthouse Board often another male lighthouse keeper was sent, if possible. But on some occasions she would request remaining as lighthouse keeper, and they'd agree - after she made her case.1 Imagine being in her place! It was her survival. Her family's survival.
Plus the children often took over duties, as well.1 For some it became a family enterprise, of sorts.2
They all have some interesting stories to tell. Take a look at some of those lighthouse keepers.
When in full swing, the U.S. Lighthouse Service had over 5,300 employees. Those with the title of Lighthouse Keeper and Keeper Assistants numbered 1,170. There were also 56 called Light Attendants. The Lighthouse Service was officially ended in 1939 when its duties were transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard.3
This iconic light started it all in the U.S. Let's see a few of the lighthouse keepers who were there, and a bit of their stories.
Set to the song "Lighthouse Keeper" by Neptune's Car, the following video consists of historic images of lighthouse keepers in the northeastern U.S.
Licensed to YouTube by CD Baby; CD Baby Sync Publishing, BMI - Broadcast Music Inc.
With a little more than 16,000 miles of coastal waters, Australia has quite a few lighthouses and the need for keepers.
FOR LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS REFERENCES - CLICK HERE>