According to the Public Affairs Office at Guantanamo Bay, the historic Windward Point Lighthouse in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has been condemned and may have to be demolished. The press release also stated that the former keeper’s house, which is now the home to a museum that has also been closed, might also have to be condemned and torn down.
Their press release stated that because the lighthouse tower is unsafe it has been closed since the late 1990s. This is surprising to us, especially since the government never mentioned this to us in our correspondence requesting information on the lighthouse for a story we did in the March 2006 edition of Lighthouse Digest.
JoAnn King, NAVSTA GTMO Public Works Department procurement technician said, “It was determined structurally unsound and unsafe by rust and corrosion.” The statement went on to say that it will be difficult to secure appropriate means to save something that spent the last decade serving as little more than an ornament.
“The sad thing is we probably will never get the funds to either restore or repair the lighthouse,” said NAVSTA Environmental Director Michael McCord, who assumed responsibility for the property late last year. He continued by saying “Eventually it will become a safety hazard and have to be demolished.”
The lighthouse, built by the United States Lighthouse Service in 1904, has a copper lantern room and the interior of the lighthouse is reportedly walled with mahogany. It was automated in 1920 and deactivated in 1955. In 1988 an unofficial light was put back into the tower.
It is not known why the lighthouse, which is on an active military base, has not been maintained on a regular basis by the government and allowed to deteriorate to such a terrible condition. Perhaps a Congressional inquiry should be called for. But that would only happen if enough people write to their U.S. Senators and Representatives.
On the other hand, McCord stated, “We are working with the cultural resource folks at NAVFAC (Naval Facilities) Region Southeast and are looking into possible alternative funding streams that can be used for repair and renovation.”
This story appeared in the
Mar/Apr 2011 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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