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John Chidester #210935 03/31/18 04:32 PM
Joined: Dec 1969
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DANIEL Offline OP
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In Memory Of John Chidester whom I consider the father of the Harbour light forum and I will even go all the way and call him the father of Harbour light collecting. I would like to give a little history on John’s involvement with the Harbour Light Forum and other HL endeavors.

The very backbone of the Harbour light forums, actually started On the World Wide Web back in 1995 when AOL started the “Lighthouse Collectable” bulletin Board. This was where collectors of all brands of lighthouses could get together to buy or sell and chat about their Lighthouse collectables. Though it was for all lighthouses 99% of the conversation was Harbour Lights. Probably the best thing offered by the AOL board was the support and knowledge by other collectors but it also was the place to buy and sell Harbour Lights. John was one of the main participants on this site going by the name, KeeperJJ.

It didn’t take very long until Secondary market dealers started to pop up on the W.W.W. One of the most noted of them started in February of 1997 called the “Lighthouse Keepers” by John Chidester and Warren Diamond. Besides selling the hard to find Harbour Lights it had information on the different popular HL lighthouses and rated them by price category. Then in May of 1998 John Chidester went on his own and started the “HLCIC” (Harbour Light Collector’s Information Center). The HLCIC was a Harbour Light information web site that was updated every Monday with the latest HL news and lighthouse information. John would post pictures comparing the different HL variations, and would have something new and exciting every week. The site even gave information on the location of the latest Bill Younger signings.

Also around late spring of 1998 AOL decided to band free ads in their Hobbies & Collectibles bulletin boards. All of the HL collectors on the board were disgusted with this idea and started talk about forming a Harbour light website and forum.
Obviously John who had previously experience as a web master was the best candidate for heading up the new Harbour Light web site. John made an agreement with HL to be their Webmaster and on August 8th 1998 presented the world of Internet the first Harbour Light web site. Some legal issues came up concerning the forum part of the site having a page with buying and selling. So Upon Kim Andrews (manager of Harbour Lights) request the next day the Trading Post was removed (which at that time was call Buy-Sell-Trade). The collectors admittedly expressed their disapproval about this decision. It took no longer than a day for Harbour Lights to come up with a solution. The forums were to be a separate identity operated and managed by John Chidester and fellow forum members.
The link was reestablished from the Harbour Lights website to the forums but with a disclaimer of the independent nature of the Collector Forums.

As a webmaster for the Harbour lights web site and the forums, John brought in much information that he had already accumulated from his earlier years of Harbour Light involvements. John taught us collectors about the many variation collectables and how to tell a California made from an early Canadian made. He brought to light the many variations of the Minot Ledge, Coquille River and many others. He identified on a chart all the HL place of manufacturing and those attached with Lightning rods. John inspired collecting and kept the collecting community informed of all the latest Harbour Light happenings. John was the information link between Harbour Lights and the collectors. John had gather up so much Harbour light facts on the forums that most of us believe that it was used as a vital source of information for the 1998 GreenBook Guide Devoted Exclusively to Harbour Lights.

In 2005 John helped orchestrate the very first Collectors Exclusive Lighthouse (Erie Land Light), with a team of forum collectors. Even though all the decisions for creating the exclusive was by majority vote, John was the connection to Harbour Lights and actually introduced the Idea to Kim Andrews.

2006 Chidester organized and edited the First Harbour Lights official collectors Guide with pictures by Paul Brady. This was a 480 page book that was the first of its kind. Instead of just listing the limited editions like the previous books, it listed almost everything by Harbour Lights including the Little Lights of Mine, GLOWS, Thumbnails, Ornaments, Special event pieces, Anchor bay, Lighthouse Legacy, buttons, pins, brochures, Mark Sherman paintings and HL variations.

Year after year John was involved in almost all the Forums post making him the utmost participant with 13,047 post. He kept involved in most Harbour Light Functions and was almost as well-known to Harbour Light collectors as Bill Younger himself. By 2016 John lost interest in the forum as with most HL collectors and the Forum was transferred over to the forum members. John Chidester passed away on February 12, 2018.


DANIEL
Re: John Chidester [Re: DANIEL] #210936 04/01/18 07:39 AM
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flacoastie Online
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Very nice write-up Daniel. I learned a lot about the very beginning of how the Forums evolved. Thank you.


Rich
Re: John Chidester [Re: DANIEL] #210938 04/02/18 06:31 AM
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Thank you for this forums history write-up.

RIP John !!!


Stan M
New Jersey Lighthouse Lovers
------------------------------------
Harry Wishlist: Tinicum Rear Range, Miah Maull Shoal, Finns Point, Bergen Point, Cross Ledge, Old Ambrose Lightstation, Romer Shoal, Barnegat Lightship, Liberty Lightship.
Re: John Chidester [Re: DANIEL] #210940 04/02/18 10:29 AM
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RMau Offline
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Sad news indeed. Thanks for the post Damiel.

For a look at an earlier retrospective here on the fora, check this link. Many memories, lots of good times.

Here is what one of the very first Harbour Lights web pages looked like, courtesy of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine:

Harobour Lights - December 2, 1998

Rick

Last edited by RMau; 04/02/18 10:35 AM.
Re: John Chidester [Re: DANIEL] #210941 04/02/18 05:24 PM
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Rick,

Thanks for the links. Provides interesting reading for folks and a nice walk down memory lane for many of us.

I imagine you may have done a search for KepperJJ since his name is highlighted. KeeperJJ was (and still is, I believe) our major Pottawatomie proponent and supporter. I can recall a time or two at Rosemont where Jim brought a large "Pottawatomie" poster to remind Bill that it should be produced. KeeperJJ was also referred to as "JJ with a T" - Jim Johnston - as opposed to our other JJ - Jim Johnson - who passed away in the recent past.

Re: John Chidester [Re: DANIEL] #210942 04/03/18 02:16 AM
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DANIEL Offline OP
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Dave
I got Johns AOL name wrong. I think it might have been "Lighthouse Keeper". But I am remembering all the way back to 1998. I will check if I have it in any of my notes that I have.


DANIEL
Re: John Chidester [Re: DANIEL] #210943 04/03/18 02:57 PM
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I checked our membership records - KeeperJJ is Jim Johnston. I think I saw a recent post that looked like he made the posting, but with a different screen name. He may have lost his log-in info and registered as a new user.

Re: John Chidester [Re: DANIEL] #210977 04/30/18 08:32 AM
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RIP John, Keep the Flame alive so we can find our way to the ultimate reunion!

Chuck


bigdragon
Re: John Chidester [Re: DANIEL] #211522 11/11/20 08:47 PM
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And even more years after your original write-up, Daniel it is delightful to reflect on his HL vision. He is missed.

Re: John Chidester [Re: DANIEL] #211523 11/14/20 11:19 AM
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DANIEL Offline OP
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Thanks for bringing this post up again. Harbour light forum was surely Johns Legacy .




DANIEL
Re: John Chidester [Re: DANIEL] #211540 12/08/20 10:52 PM
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fllights Offline
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Thank you for sharing this post Daniel. You did a very nice writeup that is so informational. John sounded like an amazing man. I will say that I met Rich recently and wow what a great man he is as well.

Re: John Chidester [Re: fllights] #211541 12/19/20 09:49 AM
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DANIEL Offline OP
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I agree that Rich is an amazing man also. if it wasn't for Rich and Dave this forum would have been long gone many years ago.. Rich singly got Harry Hines convinced to start making lighthouses again and Dave purchased this website for the members and has secured it from falling to the wayside.


DANIEL
Re: John Chidester [Re: DANIEL] #211542 12/19/20 02:05 PM
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flacoastie Online
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Roland Babineau was also very instrumental in having Harry start up his line of lighthouses!


Rich

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