News of the week July 14, 2023
Tawas Point Lighthouse (MI) restoration project
By Laurie Catherine Perkins, Historian, Tawas Point Lighthouse
Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park recently received a grant from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for $455,000 for the restoration of the lighthouse tower. Work began on the project in February 2023.
Mihm Enterprises, Inc. of Hamilton, Michigan received the contract for the restoration work. Mihm Enterprises is a woman-owned full-service contracting company specializing in historic preservation since 1989. To date Mihm Enterprises has received 4 Governors Awards for Historic Preservation and 2 Michigan Historic Preservation Network Building Awards. Most of these awards have come from the historic restoration of Lighthouses. They have had the pleasure of working on twenty-two of these structures throughout Michigan.
The project began with the boxing of the Fresnel lens, still located at the top of the tower. In March, Mihm’s crew began cleaning and priming metal surfaces both on the interior and exterior of the lantern room. Historical paint colors will then be applied. Windows were removed from the tower, repaired, and repainted. Over the summer work will progress down the tower with the removal of the cement parge and tuck-pointing bricks.
Since the restoration work area is a hard hat zone, tours of the lighthouse will be conducted outside. We know this is not ideal for the public, but it is the safest possible way for the work to be completed in a timely manner.
Starting in June an interpreter will be on duty from 10 to 5, Thursday to Monday, each week. The Museum Store will be open for its regular summer hours. The Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park will be able to greet the public outside the lighthouse on Tuesdays.
Mihm Enterprises is looking toward a September completion date for the project. With such a quick start in February it looks like they plan to meet that deadline!
* * *
Holland’s (MI) first lighthouse keeper to be honored with special grave marker
HOLLAND — The city of Holland’s first lighthouse keeper will soon be recognized with an official grave marker commemorating his service.
Melgert Van Regenmorter was appointed as Holland’s first lighthouse keeper in 1870 and held the role for 37 years before retiring.
* * *
Mattawa (Canada) lighthouse gains new life thanks to volunteers
A dedicated group of Mattawa residents is determined to restore the town’s lighthouse which sits atop a rocky outcrop on an island in the Mattawa River near Mattawa Island. Everyone can see it from town while crossing the bridge or driving along Mattawan Street and people are excited to see the final results.
Kim Ricard has been helming the project. She moved to Mattawa a few years ago, loves the town, and is keen to spruce things up when she can. The lighthouse was a bit of an eyesore, so she became determined to fix it up.
* * *
The Lighthouse of Andros Island, Greece, a Symbol of its Glorious Shipping Past
On the Aegean island of Andros, Greece, a lighthouse emerging from the water like a strange sea creature is one of the most famous spots on the island.
The Tourlitis lighthouse, which is located at the northernmost extreme of the Cyclades archipelago, has been illuminating the route of seamanship for more than 120 years.
* * *
Gibbs Hill (Bermuda) Lighthouse burns bright again after 11 days in the dark
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse has been repaired after being out of service for 11 days, the Department of Marine and Ports Services has confirmed.
The Royal Gazette reported last month that the beacon had not been working since June 25 because of a broken light bulb.
* * *
Milan Public Library presents Lake Erie lighthouse lore with authors Mike and Georgann Wachter
Milan Public Library, 19 Church St., is inviting community members to join authors Mike and Georgann Wachter as they discuss the rich history of the lighthouses of Lake Erie from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., July 13, in the Olak Community Room, according to a news release.
Listen to stories of hauntings, tragedy and romance, as well as information about how the lighthouses operate, the release said.
* * *
Engine failure leaves cargo ship within feet of hitting Wolf Rock (UK) lighthouse
This is the dramatic moment a huge cargo ship came close to hitting a 135-foot tall lighthouse eight miles off the British coast on Monday morning. The 640ft vessel Mazarine hit rocks close to the Wolf Rock lighthouse off Land’s End, Cornwall, according to some unconfirmed reports.
The vessel, bound to Belgium from southern Ireland, had suffered engine failure. The RNLI sent two all weather lifeboats to stand by as a salvage tug and a Coastguard helicopter headed towards the stricken vessel.
* * *
Waterfront Arts, Wine & Jazz fest coming to Concord Point (MD) Lighthouse
Havre de Grace Colored School hosts 6th Annual Arts, Wine, Jazz & Soul Fundraiser, Saturday August 12th at a New Waterfront Location.
* * *
Byron Bay’s (AU) lighthouse headland could soon be known by Indigenous name Walgun
The headland of Cape Byron, home to Byron Bay’s famous lighthouse, could soon be known by its Aboriginal name Walgun as part of a push for greater Indigenous recognition.
The northern New South Wales beauty spot is Australia’s most easterly point and one of the country’s most visited places.
* * *
RIDEM Expected to Take Ownership of Beavertail (RI) Lighthouse
Several Rhode Island lighthouses, most notably Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, will soon likely run under state auspices.
The National Park Service is recommending transferring the ownership, which will likely take place within the year. It is also possible that private interests may bid to operate the historic lighthouses, but that would happen only after a rigorous review process.
* * *
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 D’Entremont at Jeremy@uslhs.org