Double Sided Gift

Highlands – It was a double sided gift Shrewsbury Historical Society president Donald Burden presented to the Twin Lights Historical Society this week as the president and former mayor presented the Twin Lights Society with an 1849 watercolor of the Twin Lights.

PHOTO: Shrewsbury Historical Society President Donald Burden and Twin Lights Historical Society administrator Jenna Paterno

“While we treasure the watercolor in our own collection, “ Burden said, in donating the painting from his Society to the Twin Lights, “we feel it is better for the public to see and appreciate in its home locale.”

The watercolor, by artist John A. Mac Dougall Sr., shows the original Twin Lights prior to construction of the current building in1862. In accepting the presentation for the Twin Lights Society, administrator Jenna Paterno said it is particularly significant since it shows the barn that was once part of the Twin Lights property and an important auxiliary building for the lighthouse keepers who lived there. The barn is in the foreground with the lighthouse behind it and the ocean in the distance. There are no other known paintings or pictures of the outbuildings around the lighthouse.

The gift is two sided since a printed message and drawing on the rear of the frame painting is identified as “the only known picture of the Twin Lights, a rendering submitted Sept. 20, 1861, by architect Joseph Lederle.” The message continues to identify the drawing on the back as showing the old and the proposed new Twin Lights, with a profile of the hill directly in front of the towers shown by a dark black line. The height above sea level to the focal plane of the old Twin Lights, the message continues, was 246 feet for the north tower and 240 feet for the south tower, as compared to the 254 feet for both towers of the present Twin Lights. A trapezoid drawing also included shows the road which enters the property and an outline of the house used by the keeper, as well as two structures labeled as ‘telegraph.’ These apparently represent the tower and transmitting and receiving stations of the New York Telegraph Company.

In making the presentation, Burden also noted the framed artifact was the gift of the Richard Lees family who lived on Sycamore Ave. in Shrewsbury. Their daughter, Mrs. Patricia Martin, found it in the attic of her parents’ home built in 1837. She presented it to the Shrewsbury Historical Society in 1982.

“ We appreciated it while we had it, but we feel it should also be appreciated and will be treasured by the Twin Lights Society,” Burden said.


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