BUILT AT: Toledo (OH)


BUILDER: Craig Shipbuilding Co



DESIGN: Steel framed, iron plated and fastened; 2 steel masts w/wood spencers; 2 daymarks; 2 smokestacks abreast; flush spar-deck above main deck; no deckhouses or lantern houses

LENGTH: 121' 10" (loa); BEAM: 28' 6"; DRAFT: 12' 0"; TONNAGE: 449 gross

PROPULSION: Steam screw-one single cylinder condensing engine, 18" bore x 20" stroke; 2 vertical firetube boilers 12' high x 6' dia, 90 psi; four bladed propeller 6'dia; max speed approx. 7.5 knots; also rigged for sail

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: 2 lanterns, each with 8 oil lamps and reflectors

FOG SIGNAL: 12" steam chime whistle; hand operated bell


-Although a few earlier vessels were built up forward and covered by a fore-castle deck to protect the windlass and access to crew quarters, nearly all the early lightships were single deck vessels having crew quarters on a platform below water line. LV 58 was first lightship built with a complete upper deck above the main deck, allowing placement of crew quarters in a better environment and the higher freeboard added stability for a safer and drier ship -a forerunner of the "modern" lightship. LV 58 also unique in that lanterns were housed on spring loaded platforms on the enclosed main deck, being raised and lowered entirely from below thru hatches in the weather deck, giving safety and convenience in during handling and servicing the lanterns.

-1901: Oct Marconi wireless telegraph equipment installed for evaluation.

-1903: Oct Electric lighting plant installed at Boston lanterns electrified.

-1904: Radio placed in full time service, following its adoption and use aboard L V 66.


1894- 1896: Nantucket New South Shoal (MA)
1896-1897: Fire Island (NY)
1897-1905: Relief (MA)


Lightship No. 58 was finished and placed on station in August 1894, relieving Lightship No. 54 from duty as Nantucket New South Shoal Light Vessel, 30 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts.  When the Fire Island Station, New York, was established in 1896, Lightship No. 58 was placed there temporarily and then was returned to duty on Nantucket Shoals.  The exact date she became a RELIEF vessel is uncertain.  But in the Lighthouse Board's Weekly Notice to Mariners No. 1 to 26, August 12, 1904 to February 3, 1905, she is described as follows when going on Nantucket Shoals Station to relieve Lightship No. 66 during her repairs: 

"RELIEF LIGHT VESSEL No. 58 is a flush deck-steam vessel, has two masts, schooner rigged, no bowsprit, two white smokestacks, abreast, and the steam whistle between the masts, and differs from Light Vessel No. 66 in having all visible parts from the bow to the middle of the foremast and from the middle of the mainmast aft painted red; all visible parts between the fore and aft masts, including the middle third of each lantern mast, white.  The day mark at the mastheads have three vertical stripes of equal width, two read and one white, and on the springstay, midway between the two masts, there is an oval hoop-iron daymark with one white and two red vertical stripes.  The number '58' is in white on each bow and each quarter, and in black on each side of the springstay daymark.  The word 'RELIEF' in large black letters is painted on the bulwarks on the middle of each side."

At that time the vessel's station was located 14 miles southwest by west from Nantucket Shoals and about 40 miles to southward and eastward of Nantucket Island.

-1894: Sep 15, placed on Nantucket New South Shoal replacing LV 54

-1895: Feb 1, parted chain during gale; regained station under own power Feb 3

-1896: Jul 16, placed on Fire Island (NY) pending completion of new lightship 68

-1897: Sep, returned to New Bedford repaired, and assigned Relief duty

-1898-1905: Frequently used as tender during the period, carrying coal supplies
mail and relief crews to Nantucket LV 66. Otherwise during the period, annually relieved lightships assigned to Nantucket, Great Round Shoal, Pollock Rip, Pollock Rip Shoals, Vineyard Sound, Boston and Portland stations.

-1900 Dec 9, while relieving Nantucket LV 66, parted chain and drifted 70 miles off station in heavy gale; towed in to Edgemoor Depot (DE) by British steamer LUCILINE on Dec 17; returned New Bedford Dec 21 for extensive repairs.

-1901: Oct fitted with Marconi wireless equipment; operators furnished by USN

-1903: Oct electric lighting plant installed and lanterns electrified

-1904: Jul 19, rammed by steamer while relieving Pollock Rip LV 47; minor damage

-1904: Radio placed in full time operation; following adoption of radio for LV 66

-1905: Feb 15, while relieving Nantucket LV 66, broke adrift and unable to regain station against gale; headed for port and picked up of f Gay Head by AZALEA and towed in for replacement anchor and chain.

More notes: LV 58

-1905: Dec 10 during heavy gale, while relieving Nantucket LV 66, serious leak developed in fire-room compartment; pump suctions clogged repeatedly; distress messages sent by radio were handled by Newport Naval Station (RI). Rising water eventually extinguished boiler furnaces and ship was then bailed by hand for 24 hours. Tender AZALEA responded, arriving 0400 Dec 11 and started towing about 1100. Heavy cross seas hindered the operation and about 4 hours later, lightship signaled "must abandon". Crew safely taken aboard AZALEA and 10 minutes later LV 58, listing heavily to starboard, went down by the stern in 25 fathoms about 18 miles NW of station.

-First US vessel of any type to transmit a distress call by radio



Leaking badly and while being towed in by tender AZALEA the lightship foundered approx 18 miles NW of station at 1532 Dec 11, 1905.  Entire crew of 13 taken off safely by tender, and landed at New Bedford.


1893-1894: George W Thompson, Master
1894-1896: James Jorgensen, Master
1894-1905: Charles E Acorn, Mate
1896-1897: David H. Caulkins, Master
1897-1899: George W Thompson, Master
1899-1903: Francis Hallett, Master
1903-1905: James Jorgensen, Master

To Nantucket Lightship Station History

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Revised: 10/23/06.