View of Pine Island

Pen and Betty Brown’s first view of Pine Island, where they moved just after marrying.

Gully at Pine Island

Even during the summer, the landing-place at Pine Island could be a cauldron of waves.

Lighthouse crew having a beer

Lightkeeper Ted Ranger with work-crew from Coast Guard tender ship, enjoying beer brewed by Pen Brown.

Garden at Pine Island Light Station

Betty Brown cutting grass below the light tower.

Vegetable garden at Pine Island Light Station

The Browns developed large vegetable gardens for fresh food. CPR passenger steamers sailed past the lighthouse every week.

Children work and play at Pine Island Light Station

On a lighthouse, girls and boys played by helping with construction, gardening, care of poultry, and other tasks.

Fuel tank installed

A Coast Guard crew installs fuel tanks for the diesel engines that powered the station’s electrical generator.

Mom and son work together at Pine Island Light Station

Rex sawing wood with his mother Betty. Work on a lighthouse did not have conventional gender boundaries.

Children enjoying treats

It was exciting to receive from the monthly tender ship a box of apples or a box of books from the travelling library.

Snow at Pine Island Light Station

Snow did not come to Pine Island every year; sometimes Christmas was subtropical. But in 1966 the station looked picture-perfect in snow.

Aerial photo of damage at Pine Island Light Station

“One night in February 1967, the ocean turned our little world upside down. This photo is a bit blurry as it was taken from a rescue helicopter.” - Marian Brown

View of damage from the tower of Pine Island Light Station

This is the view of the damage from the tower of Pine Island Light Station.

The Brown Family Leaves Pine Island

“After the disaster, moving from isolation to society was life-changing. Pets and books were solace. My brother adapted quite well, but I didn’t fit in with city girls. And there is insecurity in knowing that one’s surroundings can be destroyed in an instant.” - Marian Brown