Mr. Lighthouse honored with memorial street dedication

U.S. Coast Guard, city leaders, family members remember legendary Kenneth Black
By Daniel Dunkle | Oct 13, 2016
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle City leaders and U.S. Coast Guard personnel gather for the memorial street dedication Oct. 13 on Tillson Avenue.

Rockland — Members of the U.S. Coast Guard community, city officials, family and friends gathered Oct. 13 at the corner of Tillson Avenue and Park Street for a memorial street dedication for Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer-retired Kenneth Black.

The new street sign honoring the legendary founder of the Maine Lighthouse Museum was unveiled following a ceremony that drew a large turnout of community members and Coast Guard personnel. The new sign for Tillson Avenue has "USCG Memorial Street" above the street name and "CWO Ken Black" below it.

The event included speeches from Mayor Louise MacLellan-Ruf, Paul Dilger of the Coast Guard, Lighthouse Digest Editor Timothy Harrison and family member Wanda Gamage-Wyman.

Black, who died in 2007, was known for having founded the Maine Lighthouse Museum and is credited with helping start the lighthouse preservation movement. He served in the Coast Guard in World War II and saw action in the invasion of Okinawa. He was a part of the "Greatest Generation," speakers noted.

He was also well known for always signing off in the Shore Village Museum's lighthouse newsletter by saying, "Be Neighborly."

"Today is a celebration of a man who dedicated himself to his community, his family and the Coast Guard," MacLellan-Ruf said. "It is no wonder that Ken Black, who is memorialized in your hearts, now has a permanent memorial street in our Coast Guard City of Rockland."

She said he, his family and the Coast Guard deserve this honor.

"Ken Black's dream of a first class museum on the waterfront became a reality when, in 2005, the Maine Lighthouse Museum opened its doors to house the largest collection in the nation of lighthouse lenses, lamps and other lighthouse artifacts," Harrison said. He went on to say the museum is a monument to Black's life.

"It is where future generations, who will never have met him, will be able to see his accomplishments and the amazing collection of lighthouse artifacts that he amassed," he said.

"This street dedication reinforces and highlights all that is right and good in our community," MacLellan-Ruf said.

And remember, "Be Neighborly."

Courier Publications News Director Daniel Dunkle can be reached at or 594-4401 ext. 122.

Memorial Street Dedication
(Video by: Daniel Dunkle)
US Coast Guard Memorial Steet Dedication
(Video by: Daniel Dunkle)
The moment of unveiling as Kenneth Black's son Joe Wyman reveals the new sign honoring his father's accomplishments. Kenneth Black's widow, Dot Black, looks on. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Paul Dilger of the U.S. Coast Guard says a few words at the dedication. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Mayor Louise MacLellan-Ruf takes the podium. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Timothy Harrison, editor of Lighthouse Digest magazine, says a few words about his friend Ken Black. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
(Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
(Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
(Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
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