The Lighthouse Letter 2012
Work Begins on New England’s Most Endangered Keeper’s House
In our last newsletter, we described a series of events that is leading to the restoration of New England’s most endangered lighthouse, the Straitsmouth Island Light in Rockport, Massachusetts. That exciting development began with The Lighthouse Preservation Society’s winning a grant competition to document the most endangered historic structure in Essex County, Massachusetts. We successfully nominated the Straitsmouth Island Keeper’s House – a beautiful 1835 Gothic Revival light station on the verge of collapse - on behalf of the building’s owner, the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Within weeks of the architectural laser scan documentation we had won, we were contacted by a major chemical company, which was looking for a “poster child” project to introduce their new chemically modified lumber product, that is said to last 100 years. We again nominated the Straitsmouth Island Keeper’s House to them, and won the company’s agreement to supply the Audubon Society with an in-kind contribution of enough of their new wood product to completely renovate the building’s exterior. During 2012, the Audubon Society finished half the exterior work, restoring the two worst sides of the structure – one of which had already caved-in. The other two remaining exterior sides are scheduled for completion in 2013.
U.S. Postal Service to Unveil New England Lighthouse Stamps in 2013
The Lighthouse Preservation Society announces the release of a new set of U.S. postage stamps for 2013, entitled the Lighthouses of New England, which is the latest installment of the Lighthouses of America stamp series that our nonprofit organization has nominated. The stamps will feature one historic lighthouse from each of the five New England coastal states. It will mark the 6th set of 5 American lighthouse stamps that have been issued so far, depicting lighthouses from the various regions of the United States. The immensely popular postal series by noted illustrator Howard Koslow has now featured 30 stamps over the span of 3 decades, making it one of the most popular stamp series in U.S. postal history.
New and Improved Views at Newburyport Lighthouse
In our ongoing efforts to create a phenomenal dining experience at the society’s Newburyport Lighthouse, we broke out two previously boarded-up windows in the lens room to open up the beautiful view to the north and west of the lighthouse. (See photo). Now, for the first time, diners can view the full length of the Merrimac River as it travels at their feet through historic Newburyport. By opening up the view in this way, we have increased the visibility in the lens room by one-third, so that diners can now look upstream toward the west, as well as downstream toward the ocean, view the steepled city of Newburyport, and watch the beautiful sunsets, all from the comfort of our glass-enclosed lens room.
Historic Plaques to Feature New Logo
When we broke open the two boarded-up windows at the Newburyport Lighthouse this past year, we discovered a large sheet of solid brass behind the woodwork, with a World War I Army insignia printed on it. Wishing to preserve this unexpected find, we cleaned up the brass, created a new design for a Newburyport Range Lights logo, etched it into the brass sheet, and framed it for the tower’s entry room, so that it’s the first thing you see when you enter the lighthouse. This new logo design will also be used on a new historic lighthouse plaque we are planning for the front exterior of the Newburyport Rear Range Light. The bronze plaque will be created to commemorate the completed restoration of the two towers in 2014.