Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Seeking Preservation Expertise

Piedras Blancas tower ca. 1930. Photo courtesy Carole Adams

One of the missions of the American Lighthouse Council is to share expertise among the Lighthouse Preservation Community. If any of you have experience with reconstructing your lighthouse’s lantern, please comment on this post or contact Carole Adams directly at pcadams@sbcglobal.net.

Tower ca. 1950 after lantern was removed to accommodate an aerobeacon. Photo courtesy Carole Adams

Carole Adams, a volunteer at Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, recently wrote, “The Piedras Blancas Light Station Association is looking into replicating the missing upper three levels of the lighthouse with a modern man-made alternative material rather than original like-material (brick and cast iron). Have you seen a blend of materials successfully used on other lighthouses? Does the blending appear different to the observer? What do you think the reaction of the public and the lighthouse community would be? Any feedback would be welcome!”

Evidence of paint failure
Evidence of paint failure

Carole also mentioned, “You may be interested to know that the old lead based paint was removed and the tower repainted in 2012. Unfortunately, there has been 100% failure of that paint job and it needs to be redone. That lesson is one reason why I believe communication between lighthouses regarding experiences, both positive and negative, is crucial. Someone with experience, might have been able to warn us of complications.”


2 thoughts on “Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Seeking Preservation Expertise

  1. Marilyn Fischer, President of the Gulliver Historical Society and Board of Director of the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance…Caretaker of the Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for 26 years.
    We too have had issues with these new modern paints recommended by the State Historic Preservation Association. (SW brand) These new paints are not allowing the bricks underneath to breath and they are allowing moisture to be trapped inside the bricks….we put $80,000. into a new paint job on our tower two years ago and we have many spots were the paint is completely falling off. We have severe moisture problems in the interior of the tower, causing paint failure there also!

  2. I’m curious as to the specifications for the removal of the lead paint and the recoating system @ Piedra Blancas. It is not a big surprise that the new coating failed; lighthouses are one of the most difficult things to “paint” out there. Only experienced professionals might know the way to go for prep and recoat on these, esp. the masonry towers.

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