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#7378 - 10/07/98 12:43 PM The Real Chatham Roof Line
RFoster Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 1345
Loc: Groton, CT, USA
While touring the Cape Cod lighthouses, on John's 1998 Reunion Tours, I was asked, by Paul Brady, to hold the "Harbour Lights Chatham" in my hands in front of Chatham Lighthouse, so that Paul could get a picture of the two together. I was nervous because there was a very strong wind blowing and I thought for sure that I was going to drop the HL piece. While holding as steady as I could I noticed that the real lighthouse has only one hip in the roof above the main entrance whereas the HL piece has three (one above the main entrance and one above each window on either side of the door). Is there a reason as to why the HL replica is not like the real light? All pictures that I have seen (even the old postcards) of this light also have only one hip above the main entrance.
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Ron
(CT Keeper)

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#7379 - 10/07/98 06:05 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
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Saint

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 13047
Loc: Arizona
Here's the photo that Ron was referring to:


This station formerly had twin towers. One of the towers was moved to become Nauset Beach lighthouse (replacing the three sisters).

As for the roofline - two possible explanations, one-it's pictured in an earlier time when that roofline was like that, or two-the roofline is intentionally made incorrect as a means of identifying copies made from the HL model. I'll do some more digging this week while I'm still at the Cape.

John
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#7380 - 10/24/98 08:11 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Anonymous
Unregistered


Yes John, have you gotten the irrefutable, corporate approved, answer to the roofline contradiction?

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#7381 - 10/27/98 08:45 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
RFoster Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 1345
Loc: Groton, CT, USA
OK, John??, Harbour Lights?? Harry, Kim, Bill??? Will someone give us the real facts about the Chatham roof-line. I have searched all of my 50 books on lighthouses, and numerous post cards, but all of the pictures that I find of Chatham have only "one hip" in the roof above the front door (see the picture that John posted above concerning this subject). Someone out there knows why the Harbour Lights version of Chatham has three hips in the roof-line. Would you please share this information with all of us collectors.
_________________________
Ron
(CT Keeper)

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#7382 - 10/28/98 02:53 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
PamBrian Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 43
Loc: Longmont, CO
Woooooooooow.

Does this mean there could be another "Coquille River" in our future ?

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#7383 - 10/28/98 03:33 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Webmaster Offline
Saint

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 13047
Loc: Arizona
Kim Andrews replies to my query:

Quote:
The roofline was modeled after an old historic photo we found. Unfortunately, when asked by another observant area resident, we could not lay our hands on the photo again. (The photo had been all over the world by then, sometimes a loss occurs). So, the answer is, our Chatham MA was modeled after an older photo.


John

[This message has been edited by JChidester.]
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#7384 - 10/29/98 07:23 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Rod Watson Offline
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Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 1155
Loc: Akron, Oh
OK guys, looks like the master has to take this one over.....Chatham resolved!

First the summary, then the details:

What we now call the "front" of the building NEVER had 3 wall dormers, only the larger center one.

Now for the painful, boring details:

(1) What we now call the "front" of the building (ocean side or eastern elevation) used to be what appears as the "rear" of the building in earlier days. The main entrance doorway was on the western elevation (away from ocean) with a medium size entry porch.
(2) The eastern elevation (ocean side) did not have the centered front door like it has now, it was a window. There were 2 small "vestibules" sticking out on each side of the window, with a door in each one. Many small outbuildings were all over the "rear" (ocean side) yard at the time.
(3) Sometime in history the building was remodeled to make the ocean side look like the "front" elevation. Many of the outbuildings were removed, the 2 vestibules were removed, and a "front" door was placed where the center window was. A few other windows were also modified somewhat.
(4) Sometime in this era an addition was added to the now "rear" (away from ocean) elevation. The entry porch was filled in as interior space along with a north and south small salt box style addition to completely fill in the back of the building. This version is what the rear of the building looks like on the HL sculpture. You will see the large addition to the rear with a lower sloping roof across the entire back. Another large addition was added later also, but does not apply to this discussion.

This is where it gets interesting...

(5) If you happened upon an old photo or postcard of what USED to appear to be the front of the building (away from ocean) you would notice that it had a large center gable (like the ocean side), but you would also see 2 additional small wall dormers and windows to the left and right of the gable! these 3 gables were actually then on the western side of the building NOT the ocean side! It would have been very hard to understand that if you didn't realize the front became the back, and vica versa, and really compared the aspects of the photos VERY closely.
(6) I very much believe that HL mimicked the sculpture very accurately in all aspects, but when they saw the old postcard with the 3 gables, they mistakenly assumed that this was the ocean side of the building, and the dormers had been removed at one time or another. Since it was more interesting and "historically accurate" they put them back in. (Only my assumption to their thought process, not verified)

Now for the supporting info:

(1) below is a link to a site called "The Cape Cod Lighthouse Homepage" with some old photo views of the light. The first 2 photos are the ocean side (the "new front" of the building), while the 3rd shot is of the "old front" of the building (away from ocean). You can easily see how the confusion could have been made. (The 4th shot is the ocean side again)
(2) There are 3 factors that can help verify which is truely the ocean side and non-ocean side views, if anyone questions my assumptions.
(A) The lighthouse tower locations:
The 2 towers are on the north and south side of the building, but in reality they are also much closer to the ocean side corners of the structure than the "away from ocean" rear corners of the building. This puts them at the southeast and northeast corners of the building. Use this info as a reference when comparing any photos.
(B) The 3 chimneys:
2 of the chimneys are split apart along the main ridge to the north and south ends of the building, but the center chimney in reality is pushed much further away from the ocean towards the "now rear" of the building. It is more "west" than it is "east" from dead center. The HL sculpture has it accurately, and works well for a reference. Use this as a reference too.
(C) The main center gable (dormer):
the center gable is identical on the ocean side and non-ocean side of the building except for one very important factor. The ocean side's (the "now front" side) center gable is flush with the entire building facade, there are no "ins and outs" along this facade. On the non-ocean side of the building (the "now rear" side), the center gable used to be part of a 2 story center "kickout" area of around 6 feet. In other words, the center of this facade stuck forward of the rest of the facade by around 6 feet. Use this as a reference also.

Now, if you use the above 3 factors as references in the photos linked below, along with your HL sculpture for comparison, you will eventually see that it was the wrong side of the building that had the 3 dormers, and were later covered up and deleted when the salt-box style addition was added. The ocean side of the building never had the the extra dormers.
Also as an extra note: The "now front" of the building (the real building as it stands today in the photo above in the thread, not the sculpture) has 2 small awning windows on the second floor of the ocean side. These were never on the original building (according to all photos and postcards) until some later remodeling. I am sure they just wanted some extra light into some of the "attic" rooms, and the local Architect thought that they would look good there, lining up with the windows below. This really adds to the confusion though, because it appears to fortify the assumption that the dormers USED to be there, and someone just removed them and shortened the windows somewhere down the line.

The Cape Cod Lighthouse Homepage (Chatham):
http://www.capecod.net/~gbenoit/b/chathampage.htm

Keep in mind this entire series of assumptions have not been verified by any historian, etc. I just compared a large quantity of photos and postcards and created a "timeline" of what I assumed had occured as an Architect. I toured the inside of the Coast Guard Station and climbed the tower last year and have alot of close up photos that helped too. I have heard a rumor of a "seasoned citizen" local woman whom also swore that there were never any dormers on that side too. I think I am at least close to being right.

It is of course possible that the ocean side had the 3 dormers just like the rear at one time. The photos and postcards go back pretty far though, and I dont know why they would have eliminated them so early in the life of the structure without modifying the rear ones too. Climbing in the attic to see the rafter layout would make it obvious if they were there at one time. Any volunteers? Of course if I am proven to be wrong, then you have permission to chain me up at Execution Rocks for the day while I whimper for forgiveness.

Thank you, thank you...my work here is complete.
Time to rest after the worlds longest and most confusing post.
After this post I will become MUDD#2

-RodW
[This message has been edited by Rod Watson (edited 01-17-2000).]

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#7385 - 10/29/98 08:09 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Anonymous
Unregistered


Wow. What a marketing opportunity. Keep using old (very old) photographs of a light and its keepers house. Use that old photograph as the basis for creating the model of a Harbour Lights piece rather than more recent photographs. VIOLA! Instantly the issued piece is the "Then" version and another piece can be created reflecting the "Now" appearance. Conceivable every HL can now be like the Morris Island duo - Then & Now.

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#7386 - 10/29/98 11:19 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Webmaster Offline
Saint

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 13047
Loc: Arizona
Kinda like a pit bull, ol' Lightning Rod - just sic him on to a project and he tears it up one side and down another. LOL - Great research and a good job of reporting on it, Rod. You deserve the applause you hear in the background. (fix yourself up an audio loop, please.)

John [Chatham roof lines fixed cheap]
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#7387 - 10/30/98 01:44 AM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
RFoster Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 1345
Loc: Groton, CT, USA
I'm not sure whether to thank Rod or not. My head is spinning and I'm not sure if I'm facing east or west. One thing is for sure, I'm going to take two Tylenol, go to bed, and read this again in the morning.

Seriously, I appreciate the effort (and genius) that went into this theory. Thank you Rod.

There's still one thing that I don't understand. Where are all the pictures that Bill took of Chatham before Harbour Lights decided to sculpt it. It's hard to imagine someone didn't catch this when comparing Bill's photos with the "old historic photo" that vanished.

I'm thinking about cutting the tower off of my HL Chatham and placing it on the opposite side of the building to be more authentic. I'll let you all know how I make out.

[This message has been edited by RFoster.]
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#7388 - 10/30/98 10:53 AM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Rod Watson Offline
Saint

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 1155
Loc: Akron, Oh
Ron,
New photos really dont help all that much when comparing the very, very old photos.

The building has changed so much, and so many additions were added at different times that it is almost impossible to look at the rear of the buiding now (away from ocean) with an old photo of the rear in hand and believe that it is the same building. Very little of the original rear elevation still exists. It would be very, very easy to see the old postcard and assume that it was the ocean side of the building.

-RodW
[This message has been edited by Rod Watson (edited 01-17-2000).]

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#7389 - 10/30/98 03:20 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Mike Richards Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 75
Loc: Mount Laurel NJ
Rod, I found your treatise on this subject to be very interesting, informative and well-done - who cares if it's accurate? :-)

Seriously, you obviously spent some time and effort on this and I enjoyed the read.

Mike

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#7390 - 10/30/98 10:22 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
RMau Offline
Wacko

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 422
Loc: Weeki Wachee, FL
Rod, great sleuth work to provide us all an answer. Thanks.

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#7391 - 11/02/98 01:29 AM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
LamarB Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 1042
Loc: Louisiana
Rod,

Thanks for your thorough research and well written response to the Chatham question.

Lamar

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#7392 - 11/02/98 11:02 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
RFoster Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 1345
Loc: Groton, CT, USA
Well Rod, I've rested up and have read your post about the Chatham roof-line several times while refering back to the Chatham site with the early pictures. Excellent sleuth work indeed. Thanks again for taking the time (and patience) to get to the bottom (or is that the top) of this. Sometimes my brain is alittle slow to catch up, the pictures helped immensely.
Now, does anyone have some glue so I can re-attach the tower on my HL piece??

Ron
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Ron
(CT Keeper)

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#7393 - 11/02/98 11:13 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Rock Offline
Super Wacko

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 690
Loc: Livermore, CA
All of this is very interesting...and the other day at a collectibles show, I found an old postcard of Portland Breakwater, ME...it used to have an attached house!

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#7394 - 11/03/98 02:09 AM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Art Offline
Member

Registered: 12/04/98
Posts: 1591
Hey Ron,

Check in with John. He may have some superglue left over from his Rose Island project.

-Art
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#7395 - 11/03/98 03:09 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
PamBrian Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 43
Loc: Longmont, CO
I have a question on this.

In reading through it, I think the bottom line is that HL "goofed". Am I correct ?

I've been watching this thread to see how all you "old timers" responded, and was somewhat surprised that no one seemed concerned that the piece does appear to be accurate in it's authenticity.

Is that because you tend to want the lighthouse itself to be highly accurate and the buildings themselves are less important, or are there other precedents that make this a non-issue ?

I guess I'm comparing it to Coquille River where it was yanked because it wasn't accurate.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not being critical. I'm simply trying to understand, from a collectors viewpoint, how one values accuracy in a piece.

Thanks,
Brian

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#7396 - 11/04/98 12:16 AM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Anonymous
Unregistered


I agree with you Pam, that a goof occured.

Although Rod Watson did a grand and imposing study on the *possible how* it happened, we all should be concerned with *why* did Y&A *let* it happen. There was an assumed reputation of accuracy in the pieces issued with the HL name attached. All those more recent photographs ignored and a piece made based on an old photograph (that cannot now be found)?

Not to discredit the work of Rod W, but there are some hard core collectors who believe that HL can do no wrong. I am not suggesting the piece be discontinued, but when a mistake has been made own up to it. - old (missing) photo? really!

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#7397 - 11/04/98 03:08 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
PamBrian Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 43
Loc: Longmont, CO
Sorry....need to proof better. That should have said:

"...was somewhat surprised that no one seemed concerned that the piece does NOT appear to be accurate in it's authenticity."

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#7398 - 11/04/98 04:57 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Todd Shorkey Offline
Super Wacko

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 1194
Loc: Bay City, MI
I don't think any of us "hard core" collectors have ever said that Harbour Lights never makes mistakes. I think it is just the opposite, as evidenced by the posts in this forum. We tend to be a very picky group when it comes to errors, variations, and the like.

I also feel that Harbour Lights "owns up" to thier mistakes when they happen. Look at the discontinuation of Coquille, the changing of color on Beavertail, Round Island, and others. Creating a HL sculpture is a difficult process involving much effort and research. A process that Bill, IMHO, doesn't take lightly.

Not all pieces are sculpted as they appear today either. If an old photo was used to sculpt Chatham, thats why it doesn't look the same as today. It's not necessarily a mistake. I don't feel anyone was trying o " ignore" current photos, it could just have been the look HL wanted for the piece. Morris Island-then couldn't have been made if it were not for old photographs.

-Todd [Sometimes older is better]

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#7399 - 11/04/98 05:59 PM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Rod Watson Offline
Saint

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 1155
Loc: Akron, Oh
For everyone's general curiosity, I did forward the information from my post to Harbour Lights to evaluate. I think we should at least have the courtesy of giving them sufficient time to rummage through the info with some aspirin before we expect (or start a debate over) a statement concerning their possible actions or lack thereof. They have only had the info for a few days.

As Todd has noted, it *has* been the serious collectors who questioned the sculptures' accuracy on Coquille River, Barnegut GLOW, Minot's Ledge and Barnegut's water color, Beavertail and Round Island's building colors, as well as flag labeling on Highland, Admiralty Head, and Presque Isle. (not to mention the debates on Coquille GLOW, production of Rose Island society versions for everyone, society membership size, etc, etc.) HL responded to each of these instances, and I am sure they will on this debate also in due time (whether we will eventually agree or disagree with their comments will be a future debate, I'm sure). I doubt that Spoontiques or CSC, etc. has collectors who are as critical as we are concerning accuracy issues. If there are, it doesn't show.

Keep in mind that a possible response could easily be that I'm a *kook* because they found the old photo and it DID have dormers on the front...in which case, I'd be off to Execution Rock for the night.

-RodW
[This message has been edited by Rod Watson (edited 01-17-2000).]

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#7400 - 01/18/00 04:49 AM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
Rod Watson Offline
Saint

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 1155
Loc: Akron, Oh
Just saving a few "oldy but goody" threads from the eventual wrecking ball.

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#7401 - 06/19/02 01:40 AM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
oseabee Offline
Administrator

Registered: 09/26/00
Posts: 936
Loc: Bradenton,Fl.U.S.A.
To settle a few misconceptions about chatham.I had a talk with Bill younger about this before the reunion and brought it to his attention.He kept giving me stories about why it was like this but I kept shooting each one down.I was from Chatham and got to know the light quite well as well as its predacessors.in fact it was the 1st HL I had purchased and returned.I don't collect mistakes I also found one on Cape Florida I tried to point out to him but was told I was too fussy.as I said before in these forums I collect history not mistakes.
Bill O'Brien
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oseabee
Bill O'Brien

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#7402 - 06/19/02 01:49 AM Re: The Real Chatham Roof Line
oseabee Offline
Administrator

Registered: 09/26/00
Posts: 936
Loc: Bradenton,Fl.U.S.A.
The nearest photo to the piece HL produced has the old twin towers and the single dormer has been on the front since before the single tower when there were twins.
Bill O'Brien
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oseabee
Bill O'Brien

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