Showing posts with label lighthouses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lighthouses. Show all posts

Friday, November 19, 2010

Concert To Benefit Assateague Island Lighthouse

CHINCOTEAGUE --A concert on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to benefit the
Restoration Fund for the Assateague Island Lighthouse will see the debut of "The Light of Assateague," a ballad specially written for this occasion.

Bill Troxler, whose musical group Three Sheets will perform the concert, is well-known in Washington and Baltimore circles for his hammer dulcimer workshops. Troxler has now written a new ballad to celebrate the 143 years that the Assateague Light has sent its signal out over the waves.

Those years have caused weathering to windows, walls and metalwork.

Restoration was started in 2009 but more remains to be done.

The concert is set for Friday, Nov. 26, at 7 pm. Tickets are $20 and all proceeds go toward lighthouse restoration work. Tickets are available at H&H Pharmacy, Egret Moon Artworks or Chincoteague Natural History Association at 757-336-3696.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Assateague Lighthouse Undergoing Renovations

CHINCOTEAGUE -- The historic Assateague Lighthouse is undergoing renovations after serving as a beacon for more than 100 years.
After ownership of the building passed from the U.S. Coast Guard to the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004, a $1.5 million, multi-phase restoration project began. The lower gallery deck has already been replaced, allowing visitors to walk on the deck -- approximately 130 feet in the air -- for the first time.

The second phase in the restoration project involved removing and replacing the glass windows at the top of the lighthouse to seal water leaks.

Funded largely by grants and entrance fees visitors pay to climb the lighthouse, these two projects together cost almost $400,000.

Now, fundraising for the remaining phases of the lighthouse restoration is under way. These include replacing the rest of the lighthouse windows, recentering the stairwell, renovating the upper gallery deck and eventually giving the lighthouse a new coat of paint.

"We don't want to change the fabric of the building, but we want to make sure it can withstand visitors going up," said Refuge Manager Lou Hinds.

Because the lighthouse is a registered historical structure, restoration efforts are being overseen by a Virginia historical official "to ensure the work is correct," Hinds said.

International Chimney Corporation is now working to replace the windows, which are bowing out due to pressure exerted by the wrought iron frames that are expanding as they rust.

"If we don't take steps fairly quickly, additional windows will break, and that is a loss because some of those are original windows," said Hinds.

The Chincoteague Natural History Association is working on a capital campaign to raise funds for the continued restoration of the lighthouse. The association "wanted to be involved in the restoration of the lighthouse, so they began saving money many years ago. That's what's given us such a great start on the restoration," Hinds said.

The CNHA leads tours of the lighthouse, and this summer, five interns from as far away as California have been employed to help.

"Our interns this summer are ... relaying the cultural importance of the lighthouse," said Park Ranger Melissa Perez. "They'll be ... explaining why we're doing what we're doing with the restoration."

She hopes the tours will gives visitors a deeper appreciation for what the lighthouse symbolizes, rather than a single-minded goal of climbing the 198 steps to the top -- although the view of the island from 142 feet is breathtaking.

Perez said education is an important step in gaining public support for the CNHA's capital campaign, and Hinds agreed that "it's the community's lighthouse ... so having community support is important."

The CNHA is currently working with the Curtis Group, a Virginia Beach-based organization that aids in nonprofit fundraising, to survey the public about attitudes regarding the lighthouse and restoration "to find out what fundraising approaches will work best," said CNHA Executive Director Beth Hanback. The CNHA aims to raise $1.5 million for the restoration project and to establish an endowment fund for the future maintenance of the lighthouse.

In addition to the study, which Hanback hopes will be completed in three to five weeks, the CNHA is working to plan events including National Lighthouse Appreciation Day on Aug. 7 and a lighthouse benefit concert on Oct. 2.

The timeframe for the remainder of the restoration project depends on funds received. The final step of the process will be stripping the lighthouse of its old, lead-based paint and applying a new coat.

"Literally the icing on the cake is going to be when the lighthouse is repainted," Hanback said.

The lighthouse was completed in 1867 and had six keepers until the lens was converted to electric operation in 1933. The Coast Guard still operates the lens.

Visitors can go inside the lighthouse Thursday through Monday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. -- but those wishing to climb to the top should arrive by 2:30 p.m. Adults pay $4 to climb, and children under 12 pay $2. All entrance fees contribute to restoration efforts.

Anyone wishing to donate to the restoration project can send checks to the Assateague Lighthouse Restoration Fund, P.O. Box 917, Chincoteague, Va. 23336. Call the CNHA at 757-336-3696 for more information.

"In the end, it takes the public and donations from the public ... to help us achieve our goal of complete restoration," Hinds said.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bodie Island Lighthouse To Be Renovated

NAGS HEAD, N.C. (WAVY) - The Bodie Island Lighthouse has been a beacon near Nags Head since 1872. Now, the landmark is getting a facelift, that many say is long overdue.

With its signature black and white stripes, the Bodie Island Lighthouse stands 156 feet tall. Its sweeping beam of light can be seen for up to 19 miles at sea and is in need of repair.

"In the last three years we have a lot of pieces that have fallen off the light house, a lot of rust," said Doug Stover, a historian.

The renovation project includes replacing the windows and balconies and all the metal; repairing all 214 stairs; refurbishing the marble floors; extensive work to the lantern...and even a fresh coat of paint.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse is one of four working lighthouses in the Outerbanks with a long history of folklore and mystery.

"We've heard anywhere from bodies washing ashore to potentially a land owner who's name was Bodie so we still don't know," said Stover

One person who may know is 94-year-old John Gaskill, whose father was the last principal keeper. For 21 years his family worked the lighthouse.

"My early chore there was filtering the kerosene for the light for the night," Gaskill said. "It was three gallons, best I can remember. I would measure it for him; that was my first job."

Other jobs like cutting the grass and painting the lighthouse kept Gaskill busy. When he turned 17, he enlisted in the Navy and moved away. In his retirement he has returned to the lighthouse as a volunteer--perhaps to clear up a few mysteries/

"I lived here from 1919 to 1933," he said. "Practically every summer--at least parts of every summer--and never knew of a body washing ashore."

And although most ships these days use modern technology like GPS for guidance, it's still nice to know the Bodie Island Lighthouse and its beacon will once again keep a silent watch over the waters, which are known as the graveyard of the Atlantic.

"It will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up to think of what went on here years and years and years ago," said Larry Cooley, a visitor at the lighthouse.

After the renovations are completed the lighthouse will be open to the public.