Pipe Personalities - Arthur Strout

Arthur S. Strout

While watching an episode of the DIY Network's series Building off the Grid I learned about a somewhat lesser know pipe smoker by the name of Authur Strout who had a pretty interesting job back in his day.  This episode of Building off the Grid was of the restoration of the Halfway Rock Lighthouse in Casco Bay, Maine.  The lighthouse had been sold at auction in May of 2014 for $283,000 to Ford Reiche who took on the monumental task of restoring the lighthouse which is only accessible by boat and subject to some very turbulent seas.  Arthur S. Strout was mentioned as one of the lighthouse keepers during the years of 1929 to 1946 and was pictured smoking a pipe while playing a hand of solitaire and I'm sure that pipe helped him while away many a lonely hour on that small rocky island. Believe it or not Strout came from a family of lighthouse keepers.  The Strout family of four generations served a total of 128 years as lighthouse tenders, with over 100 years of combined service between family members.  Most of the time was served tending the Portland Head Light but Len Strout was the keeper of the Portland Breakwater Light and our featured pipe smoker Arthur Strout, was keeper of Halfway Rock Light.

(Excerpted from sources listed below)
Strout spent 17 years in all at Halfway Rock, beginning as a second assistant keeper in 1928. In 1939, when the Coast Guard took over management of lighthouses from the old civilian Lighthouse Service, Strout joined that branch of the service and thus became the first Coast Guard keeper at Halfway Rock. In In 1942 an article in Parade magazine (which is where the photo of Strout smoking his pipe was first shown) reported that Halfway Rock Light, unlike most lighthouses on the East Coast, had not been blacked out by World War II.

During that time the three keepers had eight days of shore leave each month. Keeper Strout happened to be on leave during a storm in late 1935 that severed the telephone cable linking the station to shore. Recalling that John Pendell, his assistant, often chatted via radio with Perley Swasey, a nineteen-year-old amateur operator, Strout asked Swasey to radio the lighthouse and ascertain conditions there. Swasey learned that waves had broken over the rock for eighteen hours straight and had partially destroyed the boat slip. With this information, Keeper Strout was able to procure supplies while on shore to make repairs at the lighthouse. The light was eventually turned off a bit later for the remainder of the war, and was returned to service in 1945.

Halfway Rock is a windswept, rocky ledge far out in Casco Bay, about nine miles east of Portland Head. Its name comes from its location about halfway between Cape Elizabeth and Cape Small in Phippsburg. There are several treacherous ledges in the vicinity that have claimed many vessels, including the brig Samuel in the spring of 1835. The construction of the tower was very similar to Massachusetts' Minot's Ledge Light, with massive granite blocks dovetailed together. The lighthouse originally held a third-order Fresnel lens, exhibiting a white light punctuated by a red flash every minute.
The first room entered was the kitchen of the establishment. There, every thing looked in the best possible order, with its neat pantry, finely polished cooking stove, and shining utensils. The next flight of stairs brought them to another room, the bedroom of the principal keeper; and above this was a second room, with two beds for assistant keepers. A fourth flight of stairs brought them out into the watch-room, where the keeper on duty remains all night, to see that the light does not go out, and to keep guard generally. In this room there was a stove, a chair, a table, and a small lamp. It contained also the driving clock, commonly called the 'flash clock,' whose mechanism operated the flash light. for such is the 'characteristic,' as it is called, of the light at Half-way Rock.
In 1888, a new boathouse was built with an upper story containing keeper's quarters. This improved the living conditions, but the tower was always the safest place in a storm.
The days were split into 12-hour shifts for the two men on the station, so the crew members didn't see that much of each other. There were three clockwork mechanisms that had to be wound once a day. The fog signal also had to be operated as needed.
Reaching the mainland for supplies required an 11-mile row to Portland, often made difficult or impossible by rough seas or ice. In February 1934, the keepers reported that ice an inch thick extended all the way past Halfway Rock. Eventually, under the Coast Guard, a buoy tender out of South Portland delivered supplies each week.
In 1975, the keepers were removed for good and the light was automated with a modern DCB 224 optic. The original Fresnel lens went to the museum at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. Today the lighthouse tower stands alone on Halfway Rock, still an active aid to navigation. Storms have destroyed the other structures. Most recently, the station's marine railway was destroyed by the "Perfect" storm of October 1991.
The property was made available to a new owner under the guidelines of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, but there were no applicants. As a result, it was put up for sale via online auction in May 2014. If you'd like to see more about the restoration of this lighthouse you should be able to find in on demand or record a rerun of the show by searching your tv listings or you can purchase it from YouTube for $1.99

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Pipe Personalities - Sean Lemass

Sean Lemass

lemassbwJohn Francis Lemass; (15 July 1899 – 11 May 1971), often called the father of modern Ireland, was often pictured with pipe clenched firmly in his prominent teeth. Mr. Lemass was a week-end golfer and horse racing enthusiast who liked a game of cards but loved to smoke his pipe. He had been a heavy pipe smoker all his life, smoking almost a pound of tobacco a week in later life.
Born in Dublin in 1899 Lemass was a veteran of the Easter Rising in 1916. He fought in the War of Independence and was imprisoned in Ballykinlar in County Down for a year. He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty and fought against the Michael Collins Free State in the subsequent Civil War. He was among the rebels who occupied the Four Courts which were famously bombed by the Free State forces. He was again interned in Mountjoy and the Curragh.

Following the Easter Rising, Lemass remained active in the Irish Volunteers, carrying out raids for arms.

Until November 1920, Lemass remained a part-time member of the Volunteers. In that month, during the height of the Irish War of Independence, twelve members of the Dublin Brigade of the IRA took part in an attack on British agents living in Dublin, whose names and addresses had been leaked to Collins by his network of spies.

The group was under the leadership of Michael Collins. The names[note 1] of those who carried out Collins' orders on the morning of 21 November 1920 were not disclosed until author Tim Pat Coogan mentioned them in his book on the history of the IRA, published in 1970. Coogan identified Lemass as taking part in the killing of a British agent as a member of "Apostles" entourage that killed fourteen and wounded five British agents of the Cairo Gang. That day, 21 November 1920, became known as Bloody Sunday.

Lemass was arrested in December 1920 and interned at Ballykinlar Camp, County Down.

He was first elected to the Irish parliament in 1924 as member of Sinn Fein and was re-elected from his Dublin South constituency at every election that followed, up until his retirement in 1969. With DeValera he was a founder member of the new Fianna Fail party in 1926 which had abandoned armed struggle in favour of using political means to achieve its goals. He served as Minister for Commerce, Minister for Supplies and finally as Tanaiste (Deputy-Taoiseach) before being elected leader in 1959. His dealings in economic matters on behalf of the State were to serve him well.
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Pipe Personalities - Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

While visiting Gloucester, MA James Pringle, of the Boston Globe, who met RK on one of his visits to the fishing port of Gloucester, Mass., found him friendly and unpretentious. He wrote:

...he affected no fine raiment or sought notice by distinctive attire. While here he wore a suit of brownish tweed which might have been picked out from a lot on a ready-made counter at the prevailing price for a suit of that quality in those days, $15... Inseparable was the pipe of French briar.."

Although Kipling was well know for smoking a pipe, he was often photographed with a cigar and is the author of well know quote: "A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke."

(The following is b orrowed from BBC.co.uk Historic Figures )

Kipling was an English writer and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is best known for his poems and stories set in India during the period of British imperial rule.

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India, on 30 December 1865. His father was an artist and teacher. In 1870, Kipling was taken back to England to stay with a foster family in Southsea and then to go to boarding school in Devon. In 1882, he returned to India and worked as a journalist, writing poetry and fiction in his spare time. Books such as 'Plain Tales from the Hills' (1888) gained success in England, and in 1889 Kipling went to live in London.

In 1892, Kipling married Caroline Balestier, the sister of an American friend, and the couple moved to Vermont in the United States, where her family lived. Their two daughters were born there and Kipling wrote 'The Jungle Book' (1894). In 1896, a quarrel with his wife's family prompted Kipling to move back to England and he settled with his own family in Sussex. His son John was born in 1897.

By now Kipling had become an immensely popular writer and poet for children and adults. His books included 'Stalky and Co.' (1899), 'Kim' (1901) and 'Puck of Pook's Hill' (1906). The 'Just So Stories' (1902) were originally written for his daughter Josephine, who died of pneumonia aged six.

Kipling turned down many honours in his lifetime, including a knighthood and the poet laureateship, but in 1907, he accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first English author to be so honoured.

In 1902, Kipling bought a 17th century house called Bateman's in East Sussex where he lived for the rest of his life. He also travelled extensively, including repeated trips to South Africa in the winter months.

In 1915, his son, John, went missing in action while serving with the Irish Guards in the Battle of Loos during World War One. Kipling had great difficulty accepting his son's death - having played a major role in getting the chronically short-sighted John accepted for military service - and subsequently wrote an account of his regiment, 'The Irish Guards in the Great War'. He also joined the Imperial War Graves Commission and selected the biblical phrase inscribed on many British war memorials: 'Their Name Liveth For Evermore'.

Kipling died on 18 January 1936 and is buried at Westminster Abbey.

More on Rudyard Kipling :

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The Greats: Rudyard Kipling on YouTube

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Trifles Cover smFrom the producers of the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere podcast, Trifles is a 15-minute, weekly audio program where Scott & Burt discuss something related to the Canon.
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Keeping the smoking lamp lit since 1989