As recent as a few weeks ago, Maine's Prospect Harbor Lighthouse was in imminent danger of collapse due to years of water damage to the lantern deck and support timbers. It was believed that the heavy weight of the iron lantern room on the old deck, and the wooden tower with its rotted timbers, would have caused the old structure to collapse. It was originally hoped that money could be raised to do the work in 2005, but a recent inspection proved the work needed to be done if the tower was to be saved.
The restoration work, under the direction of the American Lighthouse Foundation included removing the lantern room by crane, removing the old rotten wooden deck, rebuilding a new deck, water-blasting the lantern room to remove years of lead paint, replacing broken windows in the lantern room, replacing and repairing rotting timbers, painting the lantern room and returning the lantern room via crane to the top of the tower.
The Cape Cod Chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation contributed $35,000 to fund the project, money it generated from overnight stays at Race Point Lighthouse. Tim Harrison, president of the American Lighthouse Foundation said, “We did not have the money this year and if it were not for the Cape Cod Chapter of ALF we would not have been able to save the lighthouse this year and it might have been lost.”
However, the restoration soon ran way over projected costs. Once the lantern room and old deck were removed, additional water damage to the timbers was discovered. When the lantern room was placed on the ground, examination revealed that it was covered in lead paint, which needed to be removed before the cupola could be repainted. Soon the restoration project reached close to $50,000, much more than the American Lighthouse Foundation had budgeted for. The cost could have gone even much higher if it had not been for personnel of the United States Coast Guard and United States Navy who helped with some of the actual labor and the Coast Guard came through at the last minute helping to pay for additional lumber needed for the project.
This story appeared in the
October 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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