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This is an advertisement for the roller skating rink at Colonial Beach, 1952
This is an advertisement for the Graham Coffee Shop at Colonial Beach, 1952.
This is an advertisement for the Little Steele Pier at Colonial Beach, 1952.
Lighthouses in the Colonial Beach area were located at several locations even though they weren't similar to standard lighthouses they served the same purposes.
One lighthouse was in the Mattox Creek at the end of Paynes's Point or old Barracks Farm, today known as Westmoreland Shores. Another was located at Gum Bar Point, where Dockside is today. Both were operated at the end by the Coast Guard.
The Mattox Creek lighthouse was built on pilings around the turn of the 20th century. It sat on a solid square structure or base on the water on a sand bar and reached 20 or more feet into the air. It was all open, and at the very top, on a solid platform, sat a covered container or oil lamp filled with coal oil.
The light of the second lighthouse at Gum Bar Point burned night and day. Ben Wirt and Willie Dodd tended the lighthouses, with Dodd being the main tender. He was the father of Mrs. Hezzy Combs. Mr. Dodd lived nearby, so when a storm came up, he had to watch the lighthouses carefully. If the lights were blown out, he had to go relight them.
The lighthouse tenders would climb up a wooden ladder that was attatched to one side and fill the containers once a week though they inspected them daily. They checked the wicks in the lamps and cleaned the smoke from the glasses so the lights could be seen from a distance.
The boat they used to get to the lighthouses was a 35 to 40 foot gas powered boat that had a small, but powerful, engine. Combs said they called those boats "Hot Piles", the engines made a putt-putt sound.
The oil for the lighthouse was brought in by ship and stored at Bleak Hall, off Church Point, until needed.
Upon Mr. Dodd's retirement, the Coast Guard took over tending the lighthouses; after a few years, they were torn down and replaced by bouys.