The historic Sankaty Lighthouse on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts has been saved from tumbling over the side of the steep bluffs that had eroded within 75 feet of the tower.
Although a number of subcontractors were used, the actual physical move of the lighthouse was orchestrated by International Chimney Company and Expert House Movers, famous for having moved others lighthouses such as Rhode Island's Southeast Lighthouse and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which had also been threatened by erosion.
In fear that more of the bluff would fall away, the move had to take place now or it would have been too dangerous, if not impossible, to get heavy equipment close to the tower.
In preparation for the move, as the floor of the lighthouse was dug out, two additional steps of the spiral staircase were uncovered buried beneath the surface. No one seems to know how or when this happened or why they would have been buried, making the staircase actually 18 inches higher than it was for the move.
Efforts to save the lighthouse started in 1992 and went through a number of difficult and lengthy procedures before the Sconset Trust assumed official ownership of the station to manage what is estimated as four million dollar move, restoration project and money for an endowment for the future care of the lighthouse. And, much of that money still needs to be raised.
Preparations for the move actually started in October of 2006 that included site preparation to create a path for the move, which would take the lighthouse down a 15-degree grade and 400 feet to its new home near the fifth hole of the Sankaty Head Golf Course, which has deeded an easement for the lighthouse.
A project as big as this takes the dedication and commitment of a large number of people who have taken a major risk to save an important part of America's maritime history and they are to be congratulated and supported.
Donations can be made on line at
www.sconsettrust.org or by mail to Sconset Trust,
P.O. Box 821, Siasconset, MA 02564.
This story appeared in the
November 2007 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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