Saturday, March 01, 2008

March lighthouse

This is labelled "Kipuu Lighthouse" on the calendar but it seems to actually be the lighthouse on Kilauea Point on the island of Kaua'i. With a little digging--VERY little--I know precisely why it is labelled the way it is. But here's the straight story of the house:
In 1907, the Lighthouse Board asserted that a first-order light at Kilauea Point, the northernmost point of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands, was needed.... Two years later, Kilauea Point, a narrow, lava peninsula protruding from the northern shore of Kaua'i, was purchased from the Kilauea Sugar Plantation Company "for the consideration of one dollar..." Due to the lack of good roads in the area, the decision was made to bring the materials in by sea.

Work on the 52-foot tower began in August of 1912. As excavation got underway at the site, it was soon apparent that the rock was not solid as had been indicated in the original survey. This forced the workers to dig down eleven feet to find solid volcanic rock and led to the tower having a unique feature: a basement.

The revolving lens, which was first illuminated on May 1, 1913, produced a double flash every ten seconds that was visible up to a distance of twenty-one nautical miles.

As part of a day-long celebration that preceded the first lighting, the entire population of Kilauea town was invited for a luau, featuring Kalua pig baked in the ground, sweet potatoes, and poi. Also included in the festivities was a shark shoot. The station derrick was used to lower a cow carcass into the waters at the landing cove, where sharks attracted to the bait could be easily shot.

Kilauea Point and its lighthouse became part of the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, when it was established in 1985, and today there are more bird-watchers than lighthouse enthusiasts who visit the area.

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