After being headless for most of its life, Erie Pennsylvania’s Land Lighthouse finally has its dignity back with a magnificent new lantern room that will make every lighthouse in the county jealous.
Sometime after the lighthouse was discontinued back in 1899, the lantern room of the historic lighthouse was removed, and it stayed headless for most of the last century. It wasn’t until 100 years after the tower went dark that a wooden lantern room was installed atop the lighthouse. That temporary lantern room never really looked right and was eventually severally damaged in a storm.
Local lighthouse enthusiasts led by Kitty Felion and Janet Woods spearheaded a mini-movement that led Port Authority Executive Director Raymond Schreckengost to promise to look for places to find the money to restore the old beacon. He was good to his word.
The $400,000 restoration project was paid for by grants from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Fiske and Sons of Erie, PA, did all the work, which included restoring the stairs and brickwork, replacing over 200 bricks in the walls of the tower, cleaning the tower walls and the constructing of the 6,300 pound copper lantern room and lifting in into place atop the tower.
The people who were on hand to witness the new lantern room as it was lifted to its new home witnessed history and this will be a story they can pass down to future generations.
The lighthouse community nationwide, if not worldwide, can be elated over what a few strong-willed people in Erie, PA were able to do to restore and bring back to glory one of America’s most historic landmarks.
1818 - a 20-foot tower originally known as Presque Light was built about 200 yards from the current structure.
1858 - Current Tower built
Deactivated - 1899
Became property of Erie in 1934
Replica temporary lantern installed 1989
Lantern room heavily damaged 2003
New lantern room and restoration completed 2004
Directions: Follow PA RT 5 (Alternate (Lake Road East) turn north at Lighthouse Road. The park is at the end of the road. FMI call 814-870-1452
Saturday, June 19 at Noon
Event Sponsored by:
Western Pennsylvania-Erie Port Authority
Ceremonies to include: the dedication, ribbon cutting, and blessing. With the relighting by:
Richard E. Filippi, Mayor of Erie, Pa
Raymond P Schreckengost,
Ex. Dir. Western PA-Erie Port Authority
For sale to benefit the lighthouse
Mugs $20 plus $5 shipping
Bricks $20 plus $8 shipping
Send check or money order to:
Mrs. Kitty Felion, Co-Chair
707 Aline Dr., Erie, PA 16509
This story appeared in the
May 2004 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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