Digest>Archives> Jul/Aug 2012

Nantucket Lightship LV-112 Designated A National Treasure


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A job well done! The totally restored Nantucket ...

The initiative to save and restore the 75-year-old Nantucket/LV-112, a floating lighthouse and National Historic Landmark, has recently received two major boosts. The restoration of the exterior of the ship is in the final stages of completion, and a promising announcement has come from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has named LV-112 a National Treasure.

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The National Trust’s designation of the ship as a National Treasure is a part of the continuing efforts to restore LV-112. National Treasures are irreplaceable, critically threatened places across the country where the National Trust is making a deep organizational investment. There are 33 National Treasures where the National Trust is currently working.

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“Rescuing and preserving our nation’s historic properties is truly a cooperative effort, and we are grateful to the National Trust, our donors and volunteers for their commitment to helping save LV-112. We are honored to be named a National Treasure and for the opportunity to work with the National Trust to establish a better future for the LV-112.” said Robert Mannino, Jr., president, U.S. Lightship Museum (USLM), the nonprofit group that is restoring the ship.

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The Nantucket Lightship LV-112 under wrap during ...

Constructed in 1936, in Wilmington, Delaware, the Nantucket /LV-112 was designed and built to be virtually unsinkable. The largest U.S. lightship ever constructed, LV-112 is the longest serving lightship on the treacherous Nantucket Shoals, the most remote and dangerous lightship station in the world and the only lightship station located in international waters. Operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, the ship was equipped with a 400,000-candle power light beacon, radio beacon antenna and piercing foghorn to guide transoceanic ships to safety. During WWII, the vessel was converted to an Examination Vessel, painted gray, armed and patrolled the waters off the coast of Portland, Maine.  During this time, it saved the crew of the USS Eagle-56 after it was sunk by a German U-boat.  The Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 was finally decommissioned in her original homeport of Boston in 1975. 

With the generosity of various corporations, private foundations, individuals and volunteers to assist in the restoration of the LV-112, plans to open the ship are moving forward. To date, repairs to the exterior, which include sandblasting and new paint coatings, are nearing completion. With plans to restore the interior taking shape, special attention will be paid to the engine rooms, engines, mechanical, plumbing, ventilation and electrical systems, and crew areas. The U.S. Lightship Museum (USLM) has an immediate need to raise $140,000 to complete the exterior restoration, and an overall goal of raising $1.1 million.

The National Trust is working with the U.S. Lightship Museum to establish a home for the LV-112 by ensuring the appropriate preservation planning is done for the long term-security of the lightship. The National Trust will also help to provide technical assistance for the USLM’s fundraising strategy, and engage a national audience to build broad support for LV-112. For more information on the National Treasures campaign visit www.preservationnation.org.

“The National Trust is excited to work with the U.S. Lightship Museum to help restore LV-112,” said John Hildreth, vice president of eastern field services. “We believe the reuse of this vessel as a floating maritime heritage and environmental educational center is as much innovative as it is necessary in telling the stories of the past and how it contributed to the great history of this country.”

Public tours of LV-112 will be available beginning July 14, following the completion of the ship’s exterior restoration.

LV-112’s homeport is Boston Harbor, and it is presently berthed in East Boston at the Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina. For more information about Lightship Nantucket LV-112, visit www.nantucketlightshiplv-112.org or e-mail Robert Mannino, Jr. at rmmjr2@comcast.net or call 617-797-0135. To learn more about The National Trust for Historic Preservation you can visit their web site at www.preservationnation.org.

This story appeared in the Jul/Aug 2012 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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