Event · Historic Images · News

Old Baldy Celebrates 200th Birthday

BIRTHDAYFLYERThe folks at the Old Baldy Foundation are hosting a party on Saturday, April 15, 2017, to celebrate the anniversary of the construction of their 200-year-old tower. The tower has undergone numerous repairs to make her look her best for this important event (see Old Baldy Prepares for 200th Birthday published in November 2016).

The oldest lighthouse in North Carolina, the current Bald Head Lighthouse was constructed in 1817 at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. It replaced an earlier tower that was lit on December 23, 1794, to guide shipping into the port of Wilmington via the Cape Fear River. The earlier tower was lost to erosion.

still picture identifier; 26-LG-26-9
Bald Head Lighthouse in 1893. National Archives photo 26-LG-26-9
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Daniel S. Way offered to construct the proposed brick and stucco tower for $14,700. The Connecticut builder received the contract. Letter from Daniel Way to Commissioner of the Revenue Samuel H. Smith found in National Archives Record Group 26

Bald Head NC 2001 by JCC (3)

Bald Head NC 2001 by JCC (16)
This plaque above the entrance recognizes Daniel S. Way as the builder. The R. Cochran Foundry most likely provided the lantern. Photos by Candace Clifford, 2001

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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

Old Baldy Prepares for 200th Birthday

courtesy-old-baldy-foundation
Much needed repairs are being performed to Old Baldy Lighthouse in time for her 200th Celebration Year. Photo courtesy Old Baldy Foundation.

According to The Keeper’s Times Newsletter issued by the Old Baldy Foundation on November 18, 2016:

The Old Baldy Foundation has contracted International Chimney (IC) to perform overdue and much needed repairs to Old Baldy Lighthouse. The lighthouse’s primary preservation issue continues to be damage caused by water infiltration. Initial interior and exterior repairs performed in the 1990s have been proven futile as long as water continues to get in through the lantern room.

The water trapped inside the lighthouse’s brick walls causes interior and exterior stucco to pop and fall off in chunks, especially in cold weather when water freezes and expands behind the stucco surface. You may have noticed new, exposed patches of brick in recent years.

Engineers from IC inspected the tower in June 2014. Their proposal at the time concentrated on waterproofing the top of the lighthouse from the sandstone masonry cap and above. Proposed repairs included removal and refabrication of the vent ball at the very top, repair the cast iron cornice, make masonry repairs to the parapet wall and lantern curb, remove and reinstall louvered door with a proper flange, and repair or replace brass vents in parapet wall at a cost of around $125,000.

When IC returned this November they performed another inspection and found that substantial damage had occurred in just 1 and 1/2 years. Further repairs, in excess of an additional $100,000, will be performed in January 2017. These include stripping the cast iron curtain wall, replacing severely damaged cast iron members with stainless, replacing the glass with laminated glass with a solar film, remove inappropriate caulking from roof and replace with solder, and patch exterior in areas where brick is showing.

2oothlogoOld Baldy’s 200th year celebration will include a variety of events including a Quilt Adventure benefit May 10 – 13, 2017. See the full Calendar of Events on their website.

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.