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La Jument Lighthouse Essay

The name of this well known light house is La Jument. It is located in Brittany, France. The lighthouse is built on a rock about 300 meters from the coast of the island of Ushant in the middle of the ocean. Construction of this lighthouse began in 1904 but wasn’t finished until 1911 due to the rough seas and weather conditions. The west coast of Northern France has always been known for its rough seas. This heavily trafficked sea line experiences severe weather during much of the year. This area has experienced many shipwrecks over the centuries. Including one accident, the wreck of the steam ship Drummond Castle in June, 1896, was responsible for the deaths of nearly 250 people. Between the years 1888 and 1904 thirty-one ships were wrecked there. The construction was paid for privately by a wealthy Frenchman who had almost lost his life in a shipwreck.

La Jument first became famous through a series of pictures taken by Jean Guichard in 1989. To take these pictures Jean Guichard hired a helicopter to fly over the Iroise Sea during a very dangerous storm. The infamous pictures, also named La Jument, were taken on December 21,1989 of the lighthouse keeper Theodore Malgorn, who was trapped in the lighthouse during a dangerous storm with gale force winds and surge waves of 20-30 meters.

The waves from this storm smashed through the windows of the lighthouse, tore the front door off, and flooded the inside of tower carrying all the furniture out with it. Theodore Malgorn was taking refuge in the lantern room awaiting a rescue helicopter when he went outside to see a helicopter hired to take pictures where he almost lost his life when a huge wave came crashing all around the lighthouse just barley escaping death saving his life in a matter of seconds.

These series of pictures taken by Jean Guichard inspired many places to take the safety of lighthouse keepers more seriously. The improved technology and increased mechanization have now made lighthouse keepers unnecessary. Today in the U.S. all of our lighthouses are automated except for one in Boston, which was the first one built on our shores. Many lighthouses are no longer needed because of advancements in technology making traveling the coast more safe. Some lighthouses are now being turned over to the government or other organizations to keep them maintained for future generations to learn about their place in the history of our country.


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