Southold Historical Museum is planning a book launch party for ‘The Lady Lighthouse Keeper’ on April 2

Mary Korpi, currently a guide at Horton Point Lighthouse in Southold, was intrigued by the story of Stella Prince, the only female lightkeeper at Horton Point Lighthouse in the early 1900s.

Mrs Prince was a lightkeeper at Horton Point Lighthouse for many years but was only documented as a lightkeeper from 1903 to 1904 and Mrs Korpi wondered why.

However, when she tried to research her, Ms. Korpi realized that there was not much information available about Ms. Prince.

After a four-year journey researching and compiling Mrs. Prince’s story, Mrs. Korpi has published her historical novel, ‘The Lady Lighthouse Keeper’.

“So that’s really why I wrote the book, because I couldn’t find it anywhere,” Ms. Korpi said. “I would have liked to read the book, but I couldn’t find it, so I finally decided to do some original research and that’s what got me into this.”

The Southold Historical Museum will hold a book launch on Saturday April 2 at 2 p.m. at the museum’s Ann Currie-Bell House, according to a press release.

Deanna Witte-Walker, executive director of the Southold Historical Museum, was one of nine readers of the book before it was published, and she loved it so much she read it in a weekend.

“The narrative was so much more enhanced, so now when I walk [into the lighthouse]I remember things that came up in that book,” Ms. Witte-Walker said.

Horton Point Lighthouse in Southold. (File photo)

The Southold Historical Museum has a nautical museum at Horton Point Lighthouse, which are the original keepers’ quarters.

Museum volunteers take visitors around the tower and share information about the lives of lighthouse keepers and local nautical history. According to the press release, the Nautical Museum of the Lighthouse reopens on May 28.

“There are some facts that as a historical museum we can share…but having that kind of narrative and having a story really enhances that,” Ms. Witte-Walker said.

During the launch, Ms. Korpi will talk about her writing journey and read a few passages from the book. They will have the book available for purchase and registration by Ms. Korpi.

Ms. Korpi will also host various author conferences, including at the Mattituck-Laurel Library on May 22 at 2 p.m. and at the Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library on June 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Although the book is based on Ms Prince’s story, drawing on her father’s diary entries and postcards sent to Ms Prince by family members and more, Ms Korpi stressed that her book is a work of fiction.

“The bones of this book are factual, the story is real, but I had to take and extrapolate from that and create the story,” Ms. Korpi said. “It was just like, taking these little bits of stuff that I could find and then building a story around that.”

The book is available through the editor lulu.com and on Amazon. It is also on sale at Burton’s Book Store in Greenport and the Southold Historical Museum Gift Shop.


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Patrick F. Williams