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Historical Materials: Flags, Lighthouses, & Navigation Aids

Historical Materials  »  Flags, Lighthouses, & Navigation Aids  »  Beacons / Monuments / Spindles

Beacons / Monuments / Spindles

View related Fitz Henry Lane catalog entries (14) »

A "spindle" is a fixed marker to indicate a hazard to navigation (such as a rock which couldn't be seen at high tide). It serves the same purpose as a channel buoy, a "light beacon," or a “monument,” to warn vessels away from dangerous places or stretches of coastline. Spindles are usually iron rods with some sort of geometric object (round, flat, or triangular) on top, brightly painted (usually red) for visibility. Monuments, like the ones you see in Lane’s depictions of Half Way Rock or Norman’s Woe Reef, were made of stone and look like stumpy obelisks—or grave monuments. They were also essential as reference points for the early coastal surveys in their efforts to make more accurate charts.

 In Castine, the notable square monument in the center of the harbor marked Hosmer's Ledge.

Related tables: Harbor Rocks »  //  Norman's Woe »

map
1830 Mason Map
John Mason
1830
Series Maps. v. 13: p. 17
SC1 / series 48X
Massachusetts Archives, Boston
photo (historical)
Black Rock Spindle, Gloucester Harbor
N. L. Stebbins, Publisher
1891
Photograph in The Illustrated Coast Pilot with Sailing Directions. The Coast of New England from New York to Eastport, Maine including Bays and Harbors, published by N. L. Stebbins, Boston
artwork
Gloucester Mackerel Fishing Fleet, Gloucester Harbor
Stephen Parrish
July 26, 1881
Pencil and ink on paper
15 x 22 1/8 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Mr. Donald K. Usher, in memory of Mrs. Margaret Campbell Usher, 1984 (2401.19)
Hosmer Ledge Monument, off Hospital Island
George E. Collins
Stereograph card
Castine Historical Society Collections (1996.1)
Point Allerton Monument
N.L. Stebbins, Publisher
1891
Photograph in The Illustrated Coast Pilot with Sailing Directions. The Coast of New England from New York to Eastport, Maine including Bays and Harbors, published by N. L. Stebbins, Boston.
Citation: "Flags, Lighthouses, & Navigation Aids." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/historical_material/index.php?type=Flags%2C+Lighthouses%2C+%26+Navigation+Aids§ion=Beacons+%2F+Monuments+%2F+Spindles (accessed November 22, 2017).
Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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