Trinidad Tidings: Commemorations

The significance of Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse; the point of view of this columnist:

A Trinidad city councilman strolled down to the Memorial Lighthouse recently to ponder the fate of this inspirational place and to take in the magnificent bay view with its bobbing boats, windy skies and rugged sea stacks, so beautiful to observe and so dangerous to navigate. He went over to the south side of the lighthouse, where the names of 23 Lost at Sea U.S. Coast Guardsmen, pilots, fishermen,  sportsmen and others are commemorated.

He observed a family taking pictures next to one of the names on the Memorial Wall, where over 200 names of those Buried at Sea are engraved. The family members, speaking softly among themselves, were recalling stories of two individuals who had brought such goodness, generosity and joy to their lives. The councilman did not wish to intrude on their moment of grace, but he noticed that tears came to the eyes of a young man as he touched the name of his mentors, whom he’d traveled many miles to honor.

There are many such moments, experienced personally by Trinidad Civic Club caretakers, families of those commemorated and community members at the Memorial Lighthouse, constructed in 1949 to house the 1912 coal oil lantern decommissioned by the Coast Guard when the electric light was installed at the Trinidad Head Lighthouse. The area also accommodates the two-ton 1898 bronze bell decommissioned at the same time when automation came to the Bell House on Trinidad Head.   Later, the World War II Danforth anchor recovered from the bay was added to the site, and a bronze plaque reading “In loving memory to those who perished at sea. They shall live forever in our hearts” was installed next to the anchor and dedicated May 30, 1970.

Trinidad Civic Club’s Memorial Lighthouse site is a sacred one, fittingly built on the small parcel donated to the club in 1948 by Earl and Neva Hallmark, whose 1946-built pier played such an important role in the lives of commercial and sport fishermen and gave such pleasure to visiting dreamers, lovers and ponderers of the wonders of nature, of sea life and of death. Fittingly, the Memorial Lighthouse is near the sacred Yurok village, Tsurai, the home of generations of First People. The Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse and the ancient village site are a reminder of how preservation of sacred places can exist together.

Trinidad Civic Club has formed a Memorial Lighthouse Preservation Committee. Solutions to stabilizing the lighthouse on its existing site are being actively investigated with the help of capable professionals. A report to the membership of the club will be made at the first meeting of the season Thursday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. in the Club Room, Town Hall. Members or prospective club members are encouraged to attend and to be an active part of a constructive team of dedicated people.

Contributions to preserving the lighthouse may be sent to Memorial Lighthouse Preservation Fund, Trinidad Civic Club, P. O. Box 295, Trinidad, CA 95570.

Remembering Janis Jean Saunders

Friends of Janis Jean Saunders (Sept. 11, 1929 – June 15, 2017) are invited to a Celebration of Life Reception Sunday, Sept. 10 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Trinidad Town Hall. A mass at Holy Trinity Church will take place at 2 p.m. Seating very limited due to church size.

A beautiful new chair for the church presider made by Tom Sheen is in place near the alter at Holy Trinity Church.  The plaque on it reads “In loving memory of Janis Saunders. She saved our church.”


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