Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2013

Cape Elizabeth Lens Moving


You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
The 1,800 pound Cape Elizabeth lens is shown when ...
Photo by: Timothy Harrison

The lens that was once in the east tower of Maine’s Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse (Two Lights) is being removed after 18 years of display at the Cape Elizabeth Town Hall in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
This 1989 photograph shows when the 2nd order ...
Photo by: Timothy Harrison

The Town Council voted to give the lens back to the government because the town could not justify the stringent requirements placed upon it by the Coast Guard in order to move the lens, due to town hall renovations, to another location in the town hall, as well as the amazingly high cost of insurance just to keep the lens on display for public viewing.

You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
Close up of the lantern house.
Photo by: Timothy Harrison

So, the Town Council voted to spend $8,431 to hire Jim Dunlap of Lighthouse Lens and Restoration Corporation to disassemble the lens according to Coast Guard regulations and crate it up for shipment.

However, the lens, now valued by the federal government at $2.5 million, will remain in Maine, but much further up the coast at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath.

So rather than being stored away in a crate in a government warehouse, it will go on display at the Maine Maritime Museum, which actively sought to take possession of it once they learned that it might leave the state.

Nathan Lipfert, the Museums senior curator, said in a press release, “Maine has more lighthouses than any coastal state - the Cape Elizabeth lens is an important technological artifact . . . They [lighthouses] are crucial to helping us understand the technology and economics of maritime trade in earlier centuries. They have become cultural artifacts as well, and many people are interested in them.”

However, the Maine Maritime Museum will have to abide by the Coast Guard’s stringent preservation requirements as well as their outrageous insurance valuation.

Since the Maine Maritime Museum concentrates largely on ships and ship building, the Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse lens will now become the largest lighthouse artifact in the Museum’s collection.

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 2013 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.

All contents copyright © 1995-2024 by Lighthouse Digest®, Inc. No story, photograph, or any other item on this website may be reprinted or reproduced without the express permission of Lighthouse Digest. For contact information, click here.

to Lighthouse Digest

USLHS Marker Fund

Lighthouse History
Research Institute

Shop Online

Subscribe   Contact Us   About Us   Copyright Foghorn Publishing, 1994- 2024   Lighthouse Facts     Lighthouse History