VISTABOOKS: New England coast
19th Century Whaling
by James Temple Brown and Gustav Kobbe.
Pursuing the world's largest mammal in boats powered only by sail and oar.
Perhaps the sea's highest adventure was the
whaling chase, as great or greater than exploring uncharted waters. Why else
would men risk their lives and their families' securities? The money could be
good, too, and for some, there was the chance at freedom, for the industry was
mainly blind as to skin color at a time when opportunities for non-whites were
scarce. The whaling industry flourished for two centuries, and its traditions are recounted in
seaport museums and the stories here:
"Stray Leaves from a Whaleman's Log" is reprinted from Century Magazine, 1893. It tells about chasing of whales on a cruise from the standpoint of the individual whaleman.
"The Perils and Romance of Whaling" came out in Century Magazine in 1890. It gives more of the detail of the subject and also includes anecdotes of episodes from the early days.
A final section "Cutting in and Trying Out" explains the butchering process.
Parks and museums now tell of this period of history, for instance at New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park in Massachusetts and Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut. Period illustrations. 48 pages. more...
ISBN-10: 0-89646-089-4. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-089-8. Order #: VIST0089 paper$4.95
The Light-houses of the United States in 1874
by Charles Nordhoff & Gustav Kobe.
Showing lighthouses and keepers on all U.S. coasts--Pacific, Atlantic, Gulf, and Great Lakes, with three extra articles by Gustav Kobbe: "Life in a Lighthouse", and if that isn't lonely enough there comes "Life on the South Shoals Lightship". Last is "Heroism in the Lighthouse Service".
Here are four articles on that romantic historic aspect of the maritime industry--the lighthouse. The first is a history and survey of lighthouses to 1874, giving a look at the federal service that operated them and how the lighthouses were run as well as their importance to shipping when when a light was main--sometimes the only--navigational aid. .Then there are insights into keepers' lives in one of the most exposed lighthouses ever built (Minot's Ledge outside Boston Harbor). Portrayed, too is the role played by offshore lights on anchored ships. And recalled, too, are dramas and devotion to fellow man and duty that must never be forgotten. First published at the pre-1900 time when lighthouses held greatest importance: Lighthouses remain intriguing for their function and dramatic vertical architecture, and are now historic, recalling dramas of the past. Many of the lighthouses described are in national and state park areas and are maintained as historic sites, with museums and visitor centers open to the public. In many you can still climb to the top for a view keepers once saw. A visit to one of these is all the more meaningful with the insights gained from this collection of articles. 75 period engravings. 64 pages. more...
ISBN-10: 0-89646-086-X. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-086-7. Order #: VIST0086 paper$6.95
Montauk Point, Long Island: an 1871 visit.
by Charles Parsons.
Oldest lighthouse in New York, from 1796, at The End, Long Island.
Highlight of this early trip to the eastern tip of Long Island was the Montauk Lighthouse, picturesque beacon to aid early shipping. The author's transportation en route included boat trips and trekking through sand down the beach, past sites of shipwrecks. Hear of the early pastor who received some of his remuneration in the form of rights to parts of stranded whales! And learn of the history this spot already had by 1871. There were still Indians. Cattle-ranching was practiced. Now a New York State Park. Among the period illustrations of sailing ships, the lighthouse, and a graveyard, is a windmill, still standing today. 15 pages. more...
ISBN-10: 0-89646-082-7. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-082-9. Order #: VIST0082 paper$3.95
Mount Desert, 1872: an early history of the Maine island that is now Acadia National Park
by George Ward Nichols.
Here is a sail around and a tour over Mount Desert--the famous island off the coast of Maine.
There are fogs, and stormy seas, lighthouses, and legends. The report shows how soon and how enthusiastically appreciation for Nature developed in America, for the 1872 year of publication is the same year that Yellowstone National Park--called the world's first--was established. Yet the tourist industry was already founded at Mount Desert. Nichols portrays the people as well as the scenery--their occupations, lives, and sorrow, but (unfortunately for him) he dislikes their fish and lobster! Reprinted from Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Illustrations are mainly sketches by the author. 24 pages. more...
ISBN-10: 0-89646-029-0. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-029-4. Order #: VIST0029 paper$3.95
Sandy Hook--in 1879
by George Houghton.
Story of the sometimes-spit/sometimes-island sandland off New York City.
Sandy Hook is a narrow spit of sand jutting out from the New Jersey shore into New York Harbor. This report tells of the lighthouse there, of the offshore lightship, of its life-saving service station, and of the pilots who boarded ships coming in from the ocean to guide them to their dockings in New York harbor. "Sandhiller" life on the island is presented, as are the origin of this sea-bound sand island and the geologic changes that have affected its shape, including its detachment from the mainland to become an island, and then reattachment. Today the Hook is a bit of a nature preserve, and is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area operated by the National Park Service. Reprinted from Scribner's Monthly, also the source of most of the illustrations. 16 pages. more...
ISBN-10: 0-89646-047-9. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-047-8. Order #: VIST0047 paper$3.95
Signals of the Sea and Heroes of the Surf
by Arthur Hewitt and John R. Spears.
The epic story of America's light-houses and life-savers, written at their heyday.
Two of the most romantic traditions of the sea are here combined to form the content of this book--light-houses and life-savers. Stories of the work of the keepers and savers span the range from daytime monotony, and even loneliness, between storms, to the thrill of daring sea rescues in raging winter surf. Through all, dedication of the men involved shines as brightly as the lights they tended and as steadily as their massive surfboats while heading through the breakers to sea. Reprinted from The Outlook for 1903 and 1904. Good reading for anyone intending to visit the many lighthouses and life-saving stations maintained as historic sites on all U.S. coasts. Period engravings. 24 pages. more...
ISBN-10: 0-89646-088-6. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-088-1. Order #: VIST0088 paper$4.95
The United States Life-saving Service--1880: predecessor to today's Coast Guard.
by J. H. Merryman.
Story of chain of life-saving stations that once lined all U.S. coasts--Atlantic, Gulf, Great Lakes, Pacific--with rescue dramas, apparatus and technique used by heroic federal surfmen.
The U.S. Life-saving Service was at its heyday when this material was written in 1880. Shipping was a busy industry among the seaport cities, yet navigation was often unsure, and storms poorly predicted. Wrecks were all too common; ships in peril were even run toward shore to founder them where they would be closer to possible rescue. A chain of life-saving stations on all four U.S. coasts was therefore established to save lives. Accounts of heroism at these lonely outposts remain amazing--and chilling. Our author was chief inspector of the board examining these station's crews. He tells of the organization of the Service, the desperate need for the life saving function, of rescues, and of rescue methods and apparatus. Today many of these stations are maintained as historic reminders of past deeds, and several are in parks and/or include museums. Some provide demonstrations of how rescues were made in the surf and by lifeboats. Read this book and visit one or several of the stations on any coast for an appreciation of the life-saving service heritage. 79 period illustrations. 64 pages. more...
ISBN-10: 0-89646-071-1. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-071-3. Order #: VIST0071 paper$6.95