Point Lookout Lighthouse Preservation Society (PLLPS), Inc.

Final Open House of 2007 Season Hosts Former Keeper Raymond Hartzel

November 3, 2007

The PLLPS welcomed a very special guest to the last open house event of the 2007 season: Raymond Hartzel, the last keeper of the Point Lookout Lighthouse.


From left to right:
Donald Hartzel, Carol Hartzel, Raymond Hartzel
and Mary Hartzel greet visitors at their former home.


The weather on November third was quite appropriate for the last open house of the 2007 season at Point Lookout Lighthouse. The wind blew atypically from the northwest, causing the Potomac River to churn and splash upon the protective rip rap on the western side of the lighthouse, a day which mariners would have breathed a sigh of relief upon spotting the familiar red roofed lighthouse from the Chesapeake Bay, heading for safer harbor in the Potomac River. Mr. Hartzel drove from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania with his wife Mary, and his brother and sister-in-law, Donald and Carol Hartzel to close out the 2007 season on a very high note.

On January 11, at 15:22 hours, Mr. Hartzel transcribed the radio message announcing the end of the Point Lookout Lighthouse’s 136 years of service to mariners.  Both the light and fog warning systems were replaced by an automated tower, and the light was destined to be lit no more. To commemorate the donation of the flag, the Point Lookout Lighthouse Preservation Society presented Mr. Raymond Hartzel with a plaque, with the following inscription:


In appreciation for your generous donation of the flag that flew over the
Point Lookout Lighthouse on the day the lighthouse was decommissioned on
January 11, 1966.

Raymond Hartzel

Last Keeper of the Point Lookout Lighthouse

Presented at a ceremony on November 3, 2007


Mr. Raymond Hartzel speaks to the crowd
during the flag ceremony.




Mr.Hartzel with the plaque in hand.


After the ceremony, Mr. Hartzel answered questions from some of the 267 visitors about his life at the lighthouse and how it felt knowing that he would have to leave the beautiful surroundings of the Point Lookout Station. 


The flag that last flew over Point Lookout Lighthouse
when it was decommissioned in 1966.


The flag will be mounted in a special display case, preserving this valuable artifact for future generations. The display will also include information about Mr. Hartzel and the ceremony held on November 3, 2007. A Special thank you to all of the volunteers who made 2007 a spectacular success for the Point Lookout Lighthouse Preservation Society. While much work remains to be done, this year's work has laid the foundation for preserving and sharing the rich heritage of the lighthouse for many future generations. Open House events will resume the first Saturday in April 2008, from 10 am until 2 pm.

Photos courtesy of Kim Hammond and Hobie Statzer.