By The widening cracks in its brick exterior led it to be named “New England’s Most Endangered Lighthouse” by the American Lighthouse Foundation. But New Hampshire’s Isles of Shoals Lighthouse, known to many as White Island Light, has some very devoted friends. Chief among them are the Lighthouse Kids, made up of the past three years’ seventh grade students at the North Hampton School on the New Hampshire seacoast. The group is the only kids’ chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation.
Through their persistence and the guidance of their teacher, Sue Reynolds, the Lighthouse Kids have raised awareness as well as about $21,000 to fix the 1859 lighthouse. And on April 30, 2003, U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) announced that he had secured $250,000 in the Fiscal Year 2003 Omnibus Appropriations measure, signed into law earlier this year, for structural repairs to restore the lighthouse. Senator Gregg was governor of New Hampshire in the early 1990s when ownership of the light station was turned over by the Coast Guard to the State of New Hampshire.
Students from the North Hampton School were in Washington, D.C. on a school trip and four of the Lighthouse Kids were on hand in Senator Gregg’s office for the announcement. Senator Gregg stated, “The leadership and vision of the North Hampton Lighthouse Kids is really an inspiring story. These students truly exemplify what can be accomplished when citizens take an active interest in serving their local communities and work in conjunction with public and private organizations to reach their goals. I am pleased today to announce a $250,000 federal grant through the Save America’s Treasures program to undertake the necessary improvements these students have worked so hard to make a reality.”
George Bald, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, the state agency now charged with the upkeep of the lighthouse, stated, “DRED is excited about receiving this Save America’s Treasures grant. It will go far to help restore the White Island Lighthouse, a national historic place and an icon for New Hampshire’s coastline.”
It’s hoped that some stabilization of the tower can be accomplished soon, with restoration beginning by next year. The work of the Lighthouse Kids is not over, as funds will always be needed to maintain the lighthouse and keeper’s house, which are located on a rocky, exposed island about six miles offshore. But these Kids have accomplished truly amazing things in a short span of time.
This story appeared in the
June 2003 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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