Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Children's Lighthouse Art, Poetry, and Thank You Cards

by Marian Matyn

I'm currently processing the miscellaneous papers of Richard L. "Dick" Moehl. Moehl founded and led the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA) and worked with related groups to help preserve and repair Michigan lighthouses and document their history. He actively engaged troops of Boy Scouts and some Girl Scouts from several counties to help cleanup and repair lighthouses and their grounds. He also worked in conjunction with other related groups to improve Michigan tourism and preservation of historic and natural sites including helping develop the Sweetwater Trail of Michigan and the Mackinaw area to promote tourism, notably concerning the preservation of the Icebreaker Mackinaw.

Through Moehl, the Clarke already has the Organizational Records of GLLKA, 1984-2007, documenting the restoration of the St. Helena and Round Island lighthouses, complete runs of GLLKA's two publications, the Beacon and the Great Lakes Cruiser, as well as their other historic and educational publications and lighthouse calendars, and the photographic files used to generate the images in Great Lakes Cruiser. These collections can be found in Centra and their Google-searchable finding aids are available at

In Moehl's collection, there are lots of images of scouts working on lighthouses. Besides his work with scouts, lighthouses, and various organizations concerned with preserving lighthouses, nature, and promoting Michigan tourism, Dick traveled and talked with many groups of school children to promote interest in and education about lighthouses. He was apparently an inspiring speaker. The kids loved him. Below are some images of the thank yous and poems his presentations inspired the children to create.

Thank you cards by 5th graders, Sterling Heights, undated
(above and below)

Oversized lighthouse art of Kevin Van Allen
Lighthouse poetry anthologies, 4th grade students,
Hugger Elementary (Rocherster, Mich.), undated
A scary poem from the anthologies by Matt Glaser
Poem by "Kevin," from an anthology entitled Thank You, Captain!,
unidentified school, undated