News · Preservation

Society Makes Final Assessment of Alcatraz Light Station

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The Assessment Team with their Coast Guard colleagues off Alcatraz Island.

The U.S. Lighthouse Society (USLHS) conducted its third assessment visit to Alcatraz Lighthouse on May 25, 2017. The team consisted of Society vice president Henry Gonzalez, chair of the Alcatraz Light Station Preservation Committee Ralph Eshelman, professional engineer Mat Daw, and historic preservation architect Tom McCracken.

USLHS members may recall that in 2015, the Society formed a partnership with the National Park Service and U.S. Coast Guard to conduct a historic structure report as a first step toward the preservation of Alcatraz Light Station. Funding for this work was provided by Lands’ End, Inc.

Left to right: Marcus Koenen, National Park Service; Federica Marchionni, former Executive Officer, Lands’ End, Inc.; Jeff Gales, Executive Director, United States Lighthouse Society, and Captain Nelson, United States Coast Guard; ceremony initiating the Alcatraz Light Station Preservation Project, October 5, 2015.

The historic structure report is nearly finished and will include recommendations for preservation treatment. The Society is working with the NPS and USCG to further our collaborative relationship and is poised to begin fundraising for the estimated two to three million dollars required to preserve and maintain the Alcatraz Light Station for generations to come. We will keep you posted on our progress.

When the Council of American Maritime Museums, of which USLHS is a member, decided to hold their annual meeting in San Francisco, it seemed only appropriate to take advantage of this opportunity to give a presentation titled “Partners in Preservation: Alcatraz Light Station.” The presentation on April 20, 2017, consisted of speakers from USLHS, NPS and USCG. Left to right: Ralph Eshelman (USLHS), Candace Clifford (USLHS), John Cantwell (NPS), Stephen Haller (NPS), Colleen Ryan (USCG), Wayne Wheeler, (USLHS), Tyrone Conner (USCG), Jason Hagin (NPS)

NOTE: The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Submitted by Ralph Eshelman, USLHS board member and chair of the Alcatraz Light Station Preservation Committee, June 1, 2017

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

News · Preservation

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Restoration Completed with Re-Lighting Celebration

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The lantern was repaired, cleaned, and painted as part of the recent restoration. Photo courtesy of Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum

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.

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Work underway beneath the gallery deck. Photo courtesy of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum

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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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

Event · News · Preservation

Hooper Strait Marks 50 Years at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

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The dedication of Hooper Strait Lighthouse at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum was led by Robert Burgesson May 20, 1967. Photo by William Edwin Booth. CBMM Collection.

Fifty years ago today, on May 20, 1967, the Hooper Strait Lighthouse opened to the public at its new home on the grounds of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, Maryland. The preceding November, it had been removed in two pieces from its original screwpile foundation, lifted onto a barge, and towed up the Chesapeake to St. Michaels. It was set on a new pipe foundation and restored after sitting unmanned for 12 years.

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The Hooper Strait Lighthouse was moved to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in 1966, and dedicated on May 20, 1967. Photo by C.C. Harris. CBMM Collection.

Hooper Strait Lighthouse was automated in 1954 as part of the Coast Guard’s modernization program, and it was scheduled for demolition when the Museum’s founders stepped in, purchasing it from the demolition contractor at the last minute. It was the first lighthouse to be moved for preservation purposes.

Built in 1879, Hooper Strait was a classic low, screwpile lighthouse, a type once common on the Chesapeake Bay, where shoal waters and the soft bottom of the Bay made it necessary to locate navigational beacons away from the shore.
Hooper Strait Lighthouse, along with the Point Lookout bell tower and buyboat Winnie Estelle in 2017. Photo courtesy CBMM

Submitted by Bethany Ziegler and Pete Lesher, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, May 16, 2017

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

Event · Lifesaving Service · News · Preservation

Restoration of Amagansett Life-Saving Station Now Complete

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Courtesy of David Lys, ALSCGS

The Amagansett Life-Saving Station will be open to the public for the first time on May 20, 2017, for a Re-Commissioning Ceremony hosted by the Amangansett U.S. Life-Saving and U.S. Coast Guard Society (ALSCGS). The Station will be opening as a museum this summer.

Aman2This Quonchontaug-type station was built in East Hampton, New York, in 1902. It was the third station erected at this site. The original station was one of the first wave of stations erected on Long Island (NY) in 1849. It was replaced by an 1876-type station in 1876. The 1902 station remained in service until 1944, when it was decommissioned.

Aman4The station house remained abandoned until 1966 when the town wanted it removed from the beach. Joel Carmichael purchased the station for one dollar and moved it up onto the bluff above. There it remained a family residence until the death of Mr. Carmichael in 2006. The family then decided to give the station back to the town, and in 2007, it was moved back to the original location, in the dunes below the bluff off Atlantic Avenue. This move is the subject of Eileen Torpey’s documentary film, Ocean Keeper. Although in its original site, shifting sands placed it farther from the ocean than previously, thus it was better protected from the surf. Robert Hefner, East Hampton town’s historic preservation consultant, said that the architecture of the building remained largely intact.

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Courtesy of David Lys, ALSCGS
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Courtesy of David Lys, ALSCGS

The East Hampton Town Board tasked the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Society, Inc. (ALSCGS) to raise the necessary funds to have a historic structure report on the building completed in 2011. This report guided the restoration process to return the station to its 1902 appearance. Exterior restoration was completed in 2014, and the interior in the spring of 2017.

The station will house a museum dedicated to the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service and the U.S. Coast Guard in East Hampton, including the Nazi saboteur landing off Amagansett during World War II. It will also contain an administrative office for the East Hampton Town lifeguards.

The museum will be housed in the boat room. Already on display is a Beebe surfboat, the last one known to exist. Currently under construction is a replica carriage for this boat. Once this is finished the boat will undergo a complete restoration in nearby Greenport, New York, home of Frederick Beebe’s original boatyard. This surfboat, which spent its working life nearby at the New Shoreham station on Block Island, Rhode Island, is owned by the National Parks Service and is on loan to the ALSCGS. They are also seeking to obtain a McLellan-type beach apparatus, either on loan from a museum or by construction of a replica.

Submitted by David Lys, President, ALS&CGS, amagansettuslss@gmail.com

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

News · Preservation · Tours

Preservation of Thomas Point Shoal Light Station

thomas_point_shoal-loresThe Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society has done an amazing job restoring both the exterior and interior of Thomas Point Shoal Light Station, the last intact screwpile lighthouse that remains in its original location in the Chesapeake Bay not far from Annapolis. Visitors can enjoy tours of this landmark structure during the summer and fall.

Bob Stevenson, the Chapter’s education coordinator, recently shared these wonderful photos of the restored interior. The kitchen and sitting room reflect the period when the lighthouse was administered by the U.S. Light-House Board around the turn of the 20th century, and the office shows the period after the U.S. Coast Guard took over in 1939.

Thomas Point MD Kitchen 2016 photo by Bob Stevenson loresThomas Point MD Sitting_Room 2016 photo by Bob Stevenson loresCBF_VIP_Tour-23

In 2017, tours of the lighthouse will be offered at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon on June 10, July 1, July 15, July 29, August 5, August 19, September 2, September 9, September 30, and October 7.

Visitors should contact the U.S. Lighthouse Society for reservations. (Society members get a $10 discount.) These are “adventure tours” requiring agility and safe footwear. A mandatory safety video explains all this. See http://uslhs.org/about/thomas-point-shoal-lighthouse/tours for more information on reserving your tour and to learn more about the history of the light station.

Submitted by Candace Clifford with photos and tour details from Bob Stevenson, March 11, 2017.

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

Funding Sources · News · Preservation

Grants for Lighthouse Preservation Now Available

The 2017 cycle for the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s Lighthouse Preservation Grants Program has begun. Letters of Intent must be received by March 24, 2017. Potential projects can relate to either preservation execution (i.e., “capital” or “bricks and mortar” projects) or preservation planning (i.e., “non-capital” projects); for example, research at National Archives, designs, drawings, assessments, surveys, etc. Grants up to $10,000 are available.

 

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In 2016 a $9,000 grant was awarded to the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse Trust in Maine to support replacing the lantern vent ball on the breakwater lighthouse and repairing damage in the lantern caused by water intrusion. 2009 photo by Chad Kaiser.

After an initial review by the Grants Committee, applicants will be informed by May 7, 2017, of their acceptance and will be asked to provide a full application by June 19, 2017. For more information on program guidelines and selection criteria see https://uslhs.org/about/preservation-grants-program-gidelines.

In 2016 a total of $35,000 in grants was awarded through this program, drawing on the interest from a still-growing investment fund that the U.S. Lighthouse Society has committed to increase through the years so that more and larger preservation grants can be made.

If you are interested in supporting this effort, please download our brochure.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, U.S. Lighthouse Society Historian, February 24, 2017

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

News · Preservation · Queries

Survey for Owners of Lighthouses Conveyed Under the NHLPA

Tybee Island Light Station, Georgia, was transferred to the Tybee Island Historical Society as part of the pilot program in 2002. Photo by Candace Clifford, 2009
Tybee Island Light Station, Georgia, was transferred to the Tybee Island Historical Society as part of the NHLPA’s pilot program in 2002. Photo by Candace Clifford, 2009

The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 (NHLPA) amends the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and allows federal agencies, local/state governments, and nonprofit organizations to apply for lighthouses deemed excess by the federal government. If no suitable applicant is found through a stewardship transfer, the lighthouse goes to auction and is given to the highest bidder where a private individual or organization assumes responsibility of the lighthouse. Since the lighthouses are still active aids to navigation, the U.S. Coast Guard still maintains the light. With the automation of the lights in the twentieth century, it was necessary for new lighthouse keepers to maintain the buildings associated with historic light stations. Legislation, such as the Maine Lights Program and the NHLPA, was put into place to find potential stewards. This program is a joint effort between the U.S. Coast Guard, General Services Administration, and the National Park Service to ensure the protection of historic light stations so future generations can enjoy these historic landmarks along America’s coastlines.

In order to learn more about the new lighthouse keepers, I am conducting a survey of owners of lighthouses that have been conveyed through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 in order to better understand the management process, renovations undertaken, and the challenges and rewards of ownership. I am also looking at the different types of lighthouses conveyed, what year they were constructed and architectural features. The responses and data submitted through this survey will be used in my thesis and will become a valuable tool in my study. The survey should take no more than fifteen minutes of your time.

Below is a link to my survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LighthouseOwners

Please only submit a survey if the lighthouse has been conveyed through the NHLPA.

If you have any questions, please contact me at jleeds@g.clemson.edu.

Submitted by Jennifer Leeds, MS Candidate in Historic Preservation, Clemson University/College of Charleston, on January 16, 2017