Today marks my 13th complete year as the Lightkeeper.

The 277 refers to the number of posts in this blog to date. There should probably be more of them but for different times I got waylaid by work, or by sensing that I was repeating myself, or by being laid up with my bout of scurvy. I am working on not going too long between visits here.

The first day – Ruth Downton hands me the key

I had more hair. I knew a great deal less about the history of the Light than I do now. I hadn’t gone out yet at 1:00 and 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning to chase people home who are just too loud at night. There was the idea of web cams but that hadn’t happened yet. Raytheon hadn’t tested a radio in the lantern room broadcasting from Scituate to Nahant which led to the discussion about how we might place a camera up top and their help getting me started. The Stahr family had not yet given us their financial support for which we should all be grateful. We hadn’t figured out the routine of an Open House. Dick Wainwright hadn’t put Haley in a book and as a result no one had come up the driveway asking to talk about ghosts. That was still to come. The first big storm was 8 months away and the first storm that broke anything was 20 months away.

Boxing Day Blizzard 2010
We track the storms by the golf balls that wash up.

No one had driven a car up on the revetment. The revetment hadn’t been built yet and the old snare drum of a wall, rolling all over the place in a high tide or a nor’easter hadn’t been replaced by our 4 foot higher bass drum. I wonder all the time if anyone could still live here had that work not been done. We had not had our first Super Moon. We had not been visited by rabbits, coyotes, foxes, seals, a porpoise, owls, hawks, gulls, a zillion dogs, mice, or who knows what else. I hadn’t tried to play the famous fife. I hadn’t seen the wind break the flag pole or a tide move around 4 and 5 ton stone. All of that was a head of me and more.

30 Minutes before an Open House
The old wall after a blizzard in 2013
Working on the new wall in the fall of 2013

I have had two governors here. I have had a Senate candidate (and eventual winner) here a week before the victory. There have been at least a dozen commercials for banks, motorcycles, hospitals, dairy farms, car dealerships, and real estate. When we started there were no drones overhead. The Patriots had not filmed their hype video yet. The biggest worry I had about something flying by was a wayward kite. Or Santa. Just last week there were kiteboards skimming the February waves of Scituate Harbor.

With Governor Deval Patrick
Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren
This was amazing
Photograph by Julie Gallagher

We have painted, planted, shoveled, replaced, restored, revamped, shuffled, tunneled, shingled, caulked, restrung, tightened, swept, designed, taught, learned, framed, photographed, written, organized, dusted, listened, recorded, catalogued, shined, stored, hauled, kayaked, wired, rewired, painted some more, and gone to meetings, taken phone calls, planned events, toted stones, mixed cement, cut fence posts, vacuumed the tower from top to bottom dozens of times, put a bunch of wreaths up, replaced two floors, bought two dryers, one stove, a bunch of little grills, had pipes freeze, and a water line lock up for a month, busted at least three wheel barrows, and placed a level boardwalk. We were given a bell with some very cool stories about a scientist who experimented with it at MIT. We placed a granite stone and airbrushed a stencil of Etrusco on it to keep that tale front and center.

I have had my mug captured by masters. John Tlumacki of the Globe and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize took this video and Jack Foley (a true genius with a camera) took the photographs below.

A Jack Foley photograph from the summer of 2009

There is little to complain about as all of those things were things we signed up to do. There are 39 nine things in the agreement I signed but I have tried to make the job look less appealing by taking on a few more.

The Edgerton Bell being delivered
The boardwalk might be the best of the work we have done here

The time has gone by quickly. Haley was in elementary school and now she is a college graduate. I have an ongoing plan for maintaining the cottage and a big restoration of the Tower is the funding stage. I know how bad a storm is going to be by how the house sounds. The cottage has become a very familiar harmonica; the wind plays the notes and I can hear the trouble (or lack of the same) in the song.

We have had so much help.

Volunteers, family, strangers. Just this week someone one took it on to clean off the walk way by the Etrusco stone from the early February storm. The temperature had been too cold to go out there and move any rock but when it busted through 40 degrees along comes this guy to free up the path. The support has been humbling and if there has been a worry it is that I haven’t been able to make my gratitude as apparent as I would have liked. Man, have people stepped up over and over again.

13 years in the book. 34 years is the record. John Cushman was here for part of 34 years. 1903 to 1937. I did not know that 13 years ago but I do now. Lets see how the next bunch goes and I’ll see if I can hang on to break it.

7 responses to “277”

  1. Fabulous blog…pictures great and Jack Foley captured the spirit of …THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER…also your students today loved hearing about THE storm of ‘78!… and the tale was told again tonight! The sea will have its way! Bravo! What a unique Lighthouse that interacts with so many, and at the Lighthouse becomes THEIR spot, their Lighthouse., and their memories.


  2. Thank you Bob and Julie for your dedication and service. The Lighthouse will always be home !


  3. The lighthouse is lucky to have you. Glad you are still sharing all your adventures with everyone!


  4. Beautiful pictures & thank you Bob Gallagher & family for all you do for Scituate Lighthouse!


  5. Congratulations on your accomplishments as Lighthouse Keeper! It’s been great fun to follow your journey and I’m so glad to have seen the link to your blog. I’ll share it with my mom, Denise, in Naples, FL. Your family has always had a special place in our hearts, including my sister Lisa’s. Always looking forward to a chance encounter of seeing you! Take care. xoxo Tara (Morrison) Shaw


    1. This is such a great surprise (and so kind) Lets see where the next run takes us and maybe we will cross paths too.


  6. Tracy Harrington-Kiddie Avatar
    Tracy Harrington-Kiddie

    Thank you, Bob, Julie, and Haley for caring for this Scituate treasure. Bob, I can’t think of anyone more suitable for the role of Lighthouse Keeper. Your love for our history and this town shows every day by your dedication and constant attention!
    Thank you!
    Tracy Harrington-Kiddie


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