Query on Economic Impacts of Lighthouses

Ted Panayotoff writes that he has been working on “the restoration of the Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse in Oswego, NY.  The H. Lee White Maritime Museum has leased the light from the City that owns it and the Museum has taken on the restoration project, which I head.”

“We are currently working with the City of Oswego in applying for a grant from the State of NY to do restoration work on the exterior of the lighthouse structure which is badly needed. This work is beyond the capability of volunteer work crews and will need to be done by a professional contractor with all the appropriate certificates due to lead paint, etc.  Our volunteers have probably put in around 2000 hours of work over the past 3 years (during the 5 month working season) but we cannot take this project on. Receipt of this grant is therefore key to progress with the restoration.”

“A topic that has come up in discussions between the City and the State is the anticipated economic impact of the restored lighthouse to the City and surrounding area. We anticipate that, starting this year, we will be able to offer some limited public tours to the lighthouse on special occasions. These tours have to be done by boat as that is the only means for access. We see the number of these tours expanding in the years ahead.”

“Would the American Lighthouse Council or any of your other lighthouse contacts have any data that could assist us answering the question of what the local economic impact would be given the lighthouse was restored and was accessible by boat tours? Do you know of any other lighthouse organizations that have attempted to answer such a question?”

“Any help you can give us would be most welcome.”

Ted can be contacted at <keepertedp@gmail.com>

Query on ADA Accessibility at Lighthouses

Robert Hall with the Point Lookout Lighthouse would like your feedback:

I’m trying to gather some statistics about lighthouses and keeper’s quarters that have been restored, and how many of those restorations involved compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) along with how the ADA was accommodated. For the last 10 years, I have led a non-profit that has been maintaining and providing staffing to allow the public to visit the current structure for the State of Maryland, the owners of the lighthouse complex.  However, the state is now expecting funding to renovate the lighthouse and for reasons unknown, they are determined to provide ADA access, even though that would mean destroying fabric that in some cases would be up to 185 years old.  Our lighthouse is 2 stories high; the current plan is to provide ADA access to the one half of first floor only, which has very limited views of the water. So far, I have only found one lighthouse, Point Fermin in San Pedro, CA, that has installed an elevator to provide ADA access. Other ideas included tearing down walls between the north and south sides of the first floor so that visitors can look in from the south side to the north side, which in my opinion would completely destroy the historic value, losing the feel of what it would have been like for two families to live in a duplex style quarters. Does anyone know of other examples of lighthouses that have been renovated to fully accommodate ADA access?

Please either comment on this post or contact Robert directly at roberth@his.com

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.”