With generous support from the community and a number of grants, the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse restoration in Jupiter Inlet, Florida, was completed this week. The lighthouse will once again shine out to sea on Friday evening, June 2nd during a special Re-lighting Celebration thanking supporters who have donated to the preservation project. The tower will reopen for lighthouse climbs on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017
With the light extinguished by special permission from the US Coast Guard, an experienced team of lighthouse preservationist began tackling the hard work of restoring the icon to top condition. The project began with protective encapsulating of the first-order Fresnel lens before 8 people put up the OSHA approved scaffolding system in 2 days to gain full access to the roof.
The team consisted of historic architect Ken Smith from Ken Smith Architects in Jacksonville, lens conservationist Joe Cocking from Lighthouse Lamp Shop, metalsmith expert Alex Klahm from Architectural Metal and Design and Anthony Houllis from Razorback LLC in Tarpon Springs. Their collective resumes of over 50 lighthouses includes notables such as Yaquina Head, OR; Ocracoke Island, NC; and Gasparilla Island (Boca Grande), FL.
The meticulous restoration process included a four-coat system that began with careful removal of paint and rust atop the tower. The lantern was striped to bare metal, and then repairs to the roof plates, seams and cupola were made. At $500 per gallon, the coats of long-lasting, high grade black paint and roof repairs are expected to last at least another 20 years or more with minor maintenance. Other repairs included painting the underside of the gallery deck and replacing the wedges, painting the exterior of the lighthouse just under the gallery, and applying a full exterior metal coating to the lens room deck, handrails, and gallery deck.
Alex Klahm and Anthony Houllis explained that even after all their projects, they still get butterflies in their stomachs when they hook up their safety gear and get on top of the lighthouse tower roof. “We have to take our time and purposefully plant our feet in the right position to do the work,” explains Klahm. “Everyone is afraid of falling,” smiles Klahm, “but you focus on your work and not on the height.” Safety is always a top concern and the crew conducted continual safety meetings. “Anyone can stop something that they think is wrong–right away,” comments Klahm. Any issues or problems were addressed immediately by the crew.
Houllis contributed, “We care about lighthouses and do our best job to gain a reputation for top quality. We take pride in doing great work.” One of the things that the team thought was especially unique about Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse is that it was built on a parabolic sand dune and not on flat land like many other Florida Lighthouses. “The guys who built the Lighthouse were like NASA–they were doing really hard things and the feeling of accomplishment really belonged to them. We just repair it,” says Klahm.
A special Re-Light the Light Celebration is planned for Friday night, June 2, 2017, at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. The evening is by invitation only and being held on the Lighthouse Deck as a “thank you” to donors to the Lighthouse Restoration Fund. Re-Light the Light Celebration is supported by Oceana Coffee in Tequesta and The Fresh Market in Jupiter.
Regular climbing tours of the Lighthouse resume on Saturday, June 3rd and regular admission rates apply. Visitors will be able to view the new Keeper’s Workshop exhibit–Keeping the Light at Jupiter Inlet: Adventures in the Lives of Lighthouse Keepers.
The Loxahatchee River Historical Society, the nonprofit that operates the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, has been awarded grants and donations towards the $152,000 project. These include $40,000 from the Bureau of Land Management, $30,000 grant from the Florida Lighthouse Association, $25,400 from the Loxahatchee Guild, $22,000 from the Town of Jupiter $35,210 from individual donation and foundations.
The Historical Society appreciates support from the community for the continual maintenance of the 1860 Lighthouse. To help contribute to our mission, you can become a Lighthouse Member or donate securely online at www.jupiterlighthouse.org. For further information, contact Belle Forino, Development Director at 561-747-8380 x107.
Submitted by Kathleen Glover, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, May 31, 2017
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