St. Helena Island Lighthouse
Over the ensuing years, the entire lighthouse complex has been lovingly restored, including the installation of a new wood shingle roof, rebuilding of the boat house and assistant keepers dwelling, installation of new lantern and chimney, and the replacement of thousands of bricks in the tower. Perhaps most amazingly, as a result of shallow waters which surround the island, all of the volunteers and materials have to be transferred to the island in small inflatable boat. Over the years, 21 Boy Scouts have successfully undertaken Eagle Scout Service Projects and Girl Scouts have earned 3 Gold and 5 Silver awards for their work on the island.
Lighthouse preservation is not a one-time
affair, and it is anything but cheap! With work at St. Helena
approximately 90% complete, we estimate that the work has already cost
close to 1.5 million dollars. The new roof which was installed in the late
1980's is now 20 years old, and due to the lighthouse's exposed location,
is showing significant signs of deterioration, and will will need to be
replaced within the next couple of years. Bricks on the tower are again
showing signs of spalling, and an engineering study needs to be undertaken
to figure out how best to keep moisture from entering the bricks and
masonry to minimize this spalling problem.
Cheboygan River Front Range Light
After upgrading the living quarters, GLLKA volunteer keepers have opened the lighthouse to the public every weekend during the summer seasons, while simultaneously performing restoration and maintenance tasks. In 2005 the group obtained a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grant to conduct an engineering study of the structure, and recently submitted an application for a grant to undertake the restoration of the tower and lantern, which have suffered a longstanding water infiltration problem. With a second M.L.A.P. grant awarded in 2008, the lantern and gallery will be rebuilt in 2009. We are now seeking funding to re-grade around the lighthouse to move water runoff away from the building, install perimeter drains and stabilize the rubble stone foundation, which according to the engineering study is showing significant signs of deterioration.
Once these major stabilization projects have been undertaken, restoration
of the lighthouse interior and grounds can begin in earnest. It is
estimated that completing the restoration and proper interpretation of the
lighthouse and grounds will end up costing us close to $700,000.
McGulpin Point Lighthouse
As soon as county purchase of the lighthouse was approved, a seven member "Emmet County Historical Commission" was created by the County to formulate long-term plans not only for the McGulpin Point lighthouse, but for all historic county interests. This commission is made up of a broad-based group of members to ensure that numerous view points are considered. We are proud to report that GLLKA’s Sandy Planisek is serving as chairperson of the Commission, and Dick Moehl is serving as one of the Commissioners. As such, GLLKA will continue to play a key role in the preservation and interpretation of this lighthouse.
Coast Guard approval to reactivate the light as a private aid to Navigation was obtained in late 2008, and a replica lantern and gallery railing are being constructed at Moran Iron Works in Onaway, Michigan. The lantern will be hoisted to the top of the tower by crane at some time in the spring of 2009, in time for a gala relighting ceremony planned for May 30, 2009, to which the public is cordially invited.
St. James - Beaver Island Harbor Lighthouse
The results of this engineering study
will be known mid 2009, and then fundraising will begin in order to cover
what is expected to be a costly series of masonry repairs. Once the tower
has been stabilized and restored, it is the Township's plan to rebuild the
lighthouse dwelling and barn, which were torn-down at some time in the
1940's to minimize ongoing maintenance costs for the Coast Guard. With the
station buildings back in place, and a picket fence around the property,
the station will be returned to its original turn of the twentieth century
glory when the light served as a homecoming beacon to the large fleet of
fishing vessels which called the island home.
Cheboygan Crib light
The light was manned by the Assistant Keeper at the Cheboygan River Range lights until it was finally automated in the 1920's. By the 1980's, the crib had taken on a distinct lean, and hearing of the Coast Guard's plans to demolish the lighthouse and replace it with a buoy, the citizens of Cheboygan managed to convince the Coast Guard that the light should be saved, and it was picked up by a barge crane and moved to its current location at the foot of the pier in Gordon Turner Park.
When GLLKA members Dick Moehl and Sandy Planisek visited Cheboygan early in 2001, they were dismayed to find that the tower to be in sorry condition, with the Lexan windows having crazed and turned dark brown, suffering from major water infiltration as a result of caulking having fallen out over the years. They approaching the City with the proposal that they would offer their labor to restore the structure if the City would cover the cost of materials. Receiving approval for the project from the city, Dick and Sandy set to work on August 2, 2001. After re-caulking all joints throughout the structure and replacing the Lexan windows, they painted the tower in its historically accurate white paint, gray gallery and red roof and ventilator. GLLKA has an ongoing understanding with the City of Cheboygan, now serving as keepers of both Cheboygan river lights.