A total of $35,000 was awarded in the second year of the Lighthouse Preservation Grants 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.
The Save the Light Foundation in Charleston, S.C., will use a $10,000 grant from the Society’s corporate partner, the SeaPak Division of Rich Products Corp., St. Simons Island, Georgia, to fund a detailed study of the very historic but erosion-threatened and decaying Morris Island Lighthouse.
The Morris Island project was a finalist in this year’s grants program, and was selected by the seafood company for its first program donation. The Charleston group will use the grant to gain a definitive assessment of the condition of the cofferdam-protected lighthouse and determine what steps can be taken, in what order and at what cost, to preserve the structure. International Chimney Corp., movers of the Cape Hatteras Light and other lighthouses, will do the work.
A $9,000 grant was awarded to the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse Trust in Maine to replace the lantern vent ball on the breakwater lighthouse and repair damage in the lantern caused by water intrusion. The entire project will cost $20,700.
On the Great Lakes, the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy will use a $9,000 grant to complete a $32,375 project to fabricate and install damaged or missing parts of the handrail system in the tower and on the lantern gallery at the Muskegon South Pierhead Lighthouse.
A $7,000 grant will be given to the Pensacola Lighthouse Foundation to restore a long-lost iron pedestal to the top of the lighthouse and use it to support a lens that now is suspended from the lantern roof. The pedestal was found a few years ago in the woods near the tower, and has been restored. The grant will go toward the $17,589 project to place it back in its proper location to support the lens and curtail the structural damage caused by the current system.
This year’s grants mark a slight increase from last year’s $31,000 in assistance to efforts to repair the lantern and replace a ventilator ball on the Sentinel Island Lighthouse near Juneau, Alaska; to help replace windows and shutters at the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse in Ohio; and to start work on a detailed plan to restore the masonry basement at Race Rocks Lighthouse in Long Island Sound near New London, Connecticut.
In addition, the Society’s program will administer a second grant from its first corporate preservation partner, the Lands’ End clothing company of Wisconsin. Last year, Lands’ End committed funding to launch the Society’s detailed study of preservation needs at the Alcatraz Island Lighthouse, a Society project in San Francisco Bay. This year, the Society and Lands’ End leaders traveled in late July to Little Brewster Island in Boston Harbor to present an initial $30,000 check to restore the foundation of the Boston Light’s iconic boathouse; the work will allow the boathouse to reopen to the public, and the gift celebrates the 300th anniversary of the country’s first lighthouse.
At this point the Society’s program is open only to not-for-profit groups, with a maximum grant amount of $10,000. As the dedicated preservation fund grows, more grant money will be made available for future projects. Information on donating to the fund or applying for future grants may be found on the Society’s website.
Submitted by Candace Clifford, September 8, 2016