The "Big Bass" is Back, Better than Ever, Ready for the Museum Opening on May 24th ......

The Beavertail Lighthouse Museum will open for the 1997 season on May 24th.

As promised, the sixty-five pound striped bass, one of the museum's most popular attractions, has been refurbished. The "Big Bass," caught in 1938, will be back in his place of honor, ready to receive visitors from around the world.

The Beavertail Lighthouse Museum was host to approximately 11,000 visitors during the 1996 season. Although the majority of visitors listed the USA as home, more than 300 visitors came from places around the world as diverse as Ethiopia, Japan, Turkey and Venezuela. Many visitors took the time to comment on the helpful volunteer staff, the interesting and informative exhibits, the awesome lens, as well as the beautiful and inspiring surroundings.

The museum board of directors, committee members, and volunteers have devoted many hours to the preparation of new exhibits and merchandise, as well as the ongoing refurbishing of the museum building. BLMA is looking forward to a busy and exciting 1997 season.

....and we hope to see all of our members and supporters at the museum this summer!!

Keeper of the Light

For over 30 years Edward A. Donahue kept watch at the Beavertail Lighthouse. He began tending the light in May 1920, when the US Coast Guard assigned Mr. Donahue to Beavertail. Eventually taking over the management of the lighthouse in the late 1940s, Donahue remained there on active duty until his death in 1953.

Recently, his granddaughter, Sandra Driscoll, who lives in Massachusetts, supplied us with some wonderful photos and stories about her grandfather's eventful years at Beavertail.

Needless to say, Edward Donahue experienced more than his share of hurricanes, shipwrecks and dramatic rescues while working and living at Beavertail. During the 1938 hurricane, Donahue threw himself into the raging waters to escape a collapsing engine room. Thinking "it was the easiest way to die," Donahue was not disappointed to survive, although he and his son, who jumped in to rescue his father, were tossed and battered by the pounding sea for some time before they were able to swim to shore and take refuge inside.

For rescuing two Saunderstown youths in 1947, Donahue was nominated fro the Treasury Department's gold life saving medal.

At the time of his death, Edward A. Donahue was reported to have served in the Coast Guard longer than any other enlisted man. The left sleeve of his uniform was proudly decorated with 10 "hash marks", each mark representing four completed years of service.

Defending the Bay ........

New Exhibit

The BLMA Exhibits Committee has prepared for display an exhibit of Beavertail during World War II. The exhibit includes photographs of a Navy hero who rescued two pilots from icy waters after their plane crash dived. There are photos of guns placed at Beavertail, as well as an aerial photograph of the entire area. The information and photos in this exhibit were made available by Walter Schroeder, the Jamestown resident and author of the book, "Defenses of Narragansett Bay." (This book is available for sale at the Beavertail gift store.) With very little space available for display, the wall area above the pay telephone has been chosen as the display location.

During World War II, Beavertail was known as Fort Burnside. Fort Burnside played a significant role in the overall Harbor Defense System of Narragansett Bay. A result of the formation of a joint Army-Navy Harbor Entrance Control Point, the HECP controlled movement of ships in and out of the bay.

What's New in the Gift Store?

A fun addition to the gift store merchandise and just in time for all those cool summertime beverages and traditional Rhode Island libations is the ..... Beavertail Lighthouse beverage napkin. Every dedicated member of the BMLA should have an endless supply, of course.
Through a generous and thoughtful donation from the Wright family, the museum has acquired 108 copies of Kit Wright's "Seaweed Their Pasture." Eighteen of these copies are numbered and signed. "Seaweed Their Pasture" is a story told in verse. It is a unique description of the nature and spirit of life in and around a lighthouse very much like Beavertail.
These books will be made available for sale through the museum book store.

On the Horizon . . .

The summer edition of the BLMA News will contain membership applications for 1997/1998.

Last fall individual membership dues were increased and the term of yearly membership was revised to coincide with the calendar year. New memberships or renewals received in 1997 will expire on December 31, 1998 (a bonus of 6 months).

New Dues Rates:

        [] Individual, Life --      $100.00
        [] Individual, One Year --    15.00
        [] Family, One Year --        25.00
        [] Student, One Year --        5.00
        [] Sponsor, One Year --       50.00

Have you renewed your BLMA membership? If so, Thank you for your continued support. If not, please do so today. We need your help to keep the light shining.

The Beavertail Lighthouse Museum is open weekends and Memorial day, beginning May 24 through mid-June, noon to 3pm. It will open daily, June 21 through Labor Day, 10am to 4pm. Labor Day through Columbus Day, open weekends, noon to 3pm.

President Anthony J.Faria
Vice-President June L. Webb
Secretary Alden Walls, Jr.
Treasurer Craig Arlington
Members: Diane T. Faria 
Charlotte Head Dave Clem
Jean Y. Buskin Bob Dennis
Fred Clarke Charles Auld
BLMA NEWS Editor -- Marilyn Thomas

To learn more about the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association write:

Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association
P. O. Box 83
Jamestown, RI 02835