Robbins Reef Lighthouse is often referred to as “Kate’s Light.” The photo above shows Kate Walker, principal keeper from 1894 to 1919. Kate was about five feet tall and weighed less than 100 pounds. During her time at Robbins Reef, she maintained the light and fog signal, raised two children, and rescued about 50 people. Kate never received a lifesaving medal, which the federal government awarded to exceptionally brave keepers for rescues. Nonetheless, the U.S. Coast Guard named one of its boats the Katherine Walker in her honor. This photograph was published in Harper’s Weekly in 1909 as part of a feature on Mrs. Walker..
Questions for Photo 4
1. Why was Kate Walker not officially appointed principal keeper at Robbins Reef Lighthouse until 1894? (Refer to Reading 3, if necessary.)
2. Why do you think Robbins Reef Lighthouse is commonly called “Kate’s Light” and why would the U.S. Coast Guard name a boat after her?
3. What qualities do you think Kate possessed that allowed her to perform the necessary work at the lighthouse?
4. Compare this photo with Photo 2. Can you tell where Kate might have been standing?
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