Digest>Archives> August 2002

Assistant Keeper’s House Renovated at Thacher Island

By Jeremy D'Entremont

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A helicopter was used to remove old shingles and ...
Photo by: Jeremy D'Entremont

It’s been a busy time at Thacher Island (Cape Ann Light Station) off Rockport, Massachusetts. In the fall of 2000 a new landing ramp was installed, enabling visitors and volunteers to reach the island and its twin lighthouses more easily. And in January of last year, the light station was named a National Historic Landmark. More recently, the Thacher Island Association (TIA) contracted with the Campbell Construction Group of Beverly, Massachusetts to replace the roof and repaint the assistant keeper’s dwelling on the island. Construction began on May 1 and was completed in early June. Repair work also included the replacement of rotted wooden components of the building, and repointing of brickwork and chimneys.

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Thacher Island’s south tower and the two keeper’s ...
Photo by: Jeremy D'Entremont

The 1861 brick building has been restored to its early1900s look and colors. Last year the Thacher Island Association contracted with Finch and Rose, a preservation and design firm, to do a paint analysis of the dwelling. Their report showed that there were at least 25 generations of trim paint and approximately 13 generations of body paint applied since the dwelling was constructed. The brick was first painted grayish tan around 1899 with a light gray trim and black window sash. Paul St. Germain, president of TIA, believes that this color combination was chosen to more or less match the twin granite towers.

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The twin lighthouses of Thacher Island. The ...
Photo by: Jeremy D'Entremont

Four courses of old shingles had to be removed by Campbell’s eight-man crew. The shingles were bagged and flown off the island by helicopter. Sixteen bags weighing more than 900 pounds each were airlifted, and twelve pallets of new shingles were shuttled by helicopter on the return trips.

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Marty Nally and Clem Fraize of Campbell ...
Photo by: Jeremy D'Entremont

Supervisor Marty Nally and the crew spent many nights in the dwelling during the project. High winds and rough seas sometimes prevented the crew from reaching the mainland, but having electricity and hot water on the island made that easier to endure. Nally says that of the 14 lighthouse-related jobs he’s done, this was the most comfortable place he’s stayed, and adds that the Thacher Island Association was a “great group to work with.”

The assistant keeper’s house is available for overnight stays. For information and reservations, call Dr. Sydney Wedmore, Chairman of the Thacher Island Town Committee, at 978-546-7341.

This story appeared in the August 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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