Lighthouse News of the Week – June 12, 2020

Work at Cana Island, Wisconsin, continues

Visitors to Cana Island will see some changes this summer. A welcome and interpretative center has been added. The building has new exhibits and will serve as the new space for the museum shop and admissions office. A nature trail was also added to the park to give people some extra space to explore.

Cana Island Light Station; Wikimedia Commons photo by Dasparag

When fundraising is completed, the Door County Maritime Museum will begin phase four of the project which will restore the keeper’s quarters. Although you cannot climb Cana Island Lighthouse now, you can still get some unique views of it this weekend as part of the museum’s Spring Lighthouse Festival.

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Hilton Head Rear Range Lighthouse (SC) undergoes significant renovation

The distinctive skeletal lighthouse in the Leamington neighborhood of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort overlooking the resort’s Arthur Hills Golf Course, was built between 1879 and 1880 as part of a larger system of navigation lights guiding ships into Port Royal Sound. A cast-iron skeleton tower built about a mile inland on six concrete piers, the lighthouse stands 94 feet tall and was activated on August 1, 1881. One of only a handful of surviving lighthouses in South Carolina, the Hilton Head Rear Range Lighthouse is Hilton Head Island’s only historic lighthouse.

Hilton Head Rear Range Lighthouse
U.S. Lighthouse Society archives

In 1985, Greenwood Communities and Resorts, the parent company of Palmetto Dunes, refurbished the lighthouse, cistern and oil house — installing a decorative sodium vapor optic —and opened the grounds to the public. On December 12, 1985, the Hilton Head Rear Range Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and has served as a popular Palmetto Dunes landmark and visitor destination ever since.

Now, the Hilton  Head Rear Range Lighthouse has been renovated again, including the addition of a new cedar shingle roof, which was stained, replacement of 360-degree observation deck boards and structural wood areas, cleaning and treating of the interior, cleaning of the exterior, and the structure was painted with an oil-based, marine-grade paint. In addition, the windows and doors were replaced and painted in a “Charleston Green,” while overgrown foliage around the lighthouse was removed, and more.

“We are pleased with the recent renovation and improvements to this historic Hilton Head Rear Range lighthouse and excited to welcome visitors to see the completed project,” said Palmetto Dunes Vice President of Resort Operations Brad Marra.  “We’re also excited to share the recent tree survey information on one of the oldest oak trees on Hilton Head Island that is adjacent to the lighthouse.”

For more on the lighthouse, click here.

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Passage Lower Lighthouse (ON) on Ottawa River removed by Canadian Coast Guard

The damaged Passage Lower Lighthouse on Ile LeBlanc on the Ottawa River was removed by the Canadian Coast Guard in early March, due to damage from flooding during the spring of last year. “The base of the lighthouse on Ile LeBlanc was damaged during the Ottawa River flooding, in spring 2019,” said Jeremy Hennessy, who works in communications for the Canadian Coast Guard in the Central and Arctic Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “The wooden structure was deemed unsafe and the Canadian Coast Guard is working to replace it.”

No timeline for the replacement of the lighthouse was given beyond saying the replacement effort has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “With current COVID-19 travel restrictions, crews have since been unable to continue repair work at the site,” Hennessy said.

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Incredible makeover of Ireland’s Youghal Lighthouse

In 1202, the Geraldine proprietors of the town of Youghal in Ireland’s County Cork built a lighthouse on a cliff at the west side of the mouth’s harbor. They also endowed a nunnery called the Chapel of St. Annes on the condition that the nuns would maintain the lighthouse. The nuns did so until the reformation in the 1530s, when the lighthouse and convent were discontinued. A new lighthouse, made from granite imported from Scotland, began operation in February 1852.

Youghal Lighthouse; U.S. Lighthouse Society photo by Ralph Eshelman.

The lighthouse property was auctioned in 2016, and it was bought by Saoirse Fitzgerald, from Claddagh, County Cork, Ireland. Reportedly, one of the other bidders was actor Matt Damon. Fitzgerald, with the help of family members and a number of craftspeople, has completed an incredible makeover. She rented the house as an Air B&B for a while, but with the COVID-19 lockdown she’s been living at the lighthouse.

Click here to read more and to see photos.

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First stage of Toledo Harbor Lighthouse (OH) restoration authorized

A first step toward turning the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse into a museum was authorized Tuesday by the Lucas County board of commissioners. A $474,368 contract with Buckeye Construction and Restoration Ltd. of Waterford, Ohio, which was unanimously approved by the commissioners, will pay for masonry repairs, window installation, and door repairs on the Romanesque structure’s first and second floors.

Toledo Harbor Lighthouse circa 1900 (U.S. Lighthouse Society archives).

The Toledo Lighthouse Society bought the lighthouse from the U.S. Department of the Interior for $1 in 1986. The Coast Guard retained access to maintain its navigational light and foghorn. The lighthouse society was organized during the lighthouse’s centennial year in 2003 to document the building’s history and preserve and restore it.

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Props from “The Lighthouse” movie raise $132,800 U.S. for New York Food Bank

Some of the props from the movie “The Lighthouse,” mostly partially at the Cape Forchu Lighthouse property in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, in 2018, have been donated by A24 Films for a good cause. The New York-based company launched A24 Auctions to assist hometown charities that are extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus.

The Fresnel lens from the set-constructed lighthouse that bewitched the lighthouse keepers played by actors Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in the movie, as well as the six-inch faux-carved mermaid found by Pattinson in the storyline, were included in the auction last month. The $132,800 (U.S.) raised from the lot, which also featured Wake’s pipe (Dafoe’s character), several caps and hats, and the lighthouse flag, was directed to the New York Food Bank.

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Australia’s McCrae Lighthouse to be restored

The Eastern Lighthouse at McCrae guides mariners through the South Channel on the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay. McCrae is on the bay side of the Mornington Peninsula. The lighthouse is the tallest on mainland Victoria. It was turned off by the Port of Melbourne Authority 1994. The lighthouse will receive $1 million for urgent conservation works under the state government’s Living Heritage Program. “McCrae Lighthouse is a popular destination for locals and visitors to the Mornington Peninsula, so this funding boost will have cultural and economic benefits for our community,” Nepean MP Chris Brayne said.

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research.

If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to Jeremy at

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