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The Lay of the Land

Twin Lights in 100 Artifacts #6: 1895 Survey of the Twin Lights

The adoption of Kerosene at Twin Lights was a marked transition from the lard oils of the past. The new oil burned cleaned and brighter, making it ideal for lighthouse work. It also created a need for new storage solutions. The lard oils previously used here on site, while flammable, did not have the same explosive potential as Kerosene. The survey above shows two oil houses set as far back as could be practically achieved due to the sloping hills around the lighthouse.

To get a sense of the change, the above image shows the oil room of the Boston Harbor lighthouse (Courtesy of the United States Lighthouse Society). Sitting on the right side of the room are the large 100-gallon oil butts of the same type used here at Twin Lights. During a visit to Twin Lights in 1879, the keeper informed his guests that the First Order lamp burned between two to four gallons a night. The original oil rooms still exist today but serve as the gift shop and the foyer to the auditorium.

The picture above was taken between 1902 – 1909. Pictured to the extreme left, behind the two men leaning on the fence is the oil house. While no clearer picture has been found to date, a sense of the building can be gained from the following building plans for an oil house of the time.

Other portions of the survey, including the barn, powerhouse, and telegraph station will be explored more fully in future blog entries.

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