Day 32: December 28th
On Saturday, Jeff and I did a long run out to Winter Island in Salem. This is a fairly normal route for us, but we usually turn around at the entrance to the park. This time we ran in and looked around a little. I tried to do some exploring myself on one of my long runs over the summer, but a lot of people camp on the island in the summer, and it was too busy that day to make it fun. Exploring this weekend was way better. We saw an ammunition bunker, a creepy gated off stairwell, and the Fort Pickering Light. I would probably know more about some of these things but the signs were all covered in snow & ice.
Luckily, I did some “research” (aka: google search), so I can give you a little info on Winter Island and Fort Pickering. Winter Island was first settled in 1637 and construction on the fort started 1643. Originally, the fort was called Fort William and later Fort Anne (after a King and Queen of England), but was renamed to Fort Pickering in 1799. It was named after a Salem native who later became Secretary of State, which was way more American and Patriotic than being named after an English Monarch.
The Fort was occupied during the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, and the Civil War. As far as I can tell, there were no battles, skirmishes, or the like. However, it was rebuilt a few times. I suppose it could just be normal fort wear and tear, but really who knows…feel free to use your imagination (it’s history, no need to be factual, right?)
Okay, enough about the Fort, let’s get to the interesting part: The Lighthouse. It was first lit in 1871. I’m not sure who lit it because there is no mention of lighthouse keepers until 1882. That’s when this guy, John Harris, took the job. And he was keeper there for 37 years. 37 years! And in that whole time he took only 5 nights off! That’s it, just 5 nights…talk about a workaholic. Also, there were no shipwrecks that whole time…way to light that light John Harris!
After Harris retired, the coastguard tended the light until they left the Island in 1965. At that point the light went dark for nearly 20 years until 1983 when it came back on as a private aid to navigation. It got it’s latest update in 1995 when the light was upgraded to be solar powered.
Day 33 – 35: December 29th – December 31st
These 3 runs were a lot less interesting than Saturday’s, but they added to my streak, and with today’s run I just surpassed my yearly mileage goal of 900 miles! Tomorrow’s the last day of the streak…WAHOO!!!!!