While checking in books the other day, I came across a little gem, "The Keeper of Lime Rock" by Lenore Skomal. This biography tells the fascinating true story of Ida Lewis, the most celebrated lighthouse keeper in America. In the 1800s, the safety of thousands of sailors depended upon the hard work and dedication of lighthouse keepers up and down the Atlantic coast. Lime Rock Light in the harbor of Newport, Rhode Island was opened in 1857. The lighthouse was renamed the Ida Lewis Light years after her death in 1911. After being decommissioned, the lighthouse was sold and is now the Ida Lewis Yacht Club.

Ida Lewis was the daughter of Captain Hosea Lewis, the lighthouse keeper of Lime Rock. She grew up assisting her father in the lighthouse and took on the dangerous and demanding job after her father died. She is credited with rescuing at least 18 capsized sailors – most during fierce storms - during her career, using only her rowboat and her courage.

Lewis was acclaimed during her lifetime for her daring rescues, and was presented with numerous awards and medals in recognition of her efforts. This biography is available at the Waukee Public Library.

What are you reading? Send me your recommendations! Email is best: dmurphy-petersen@waukee.org.