For the past six years volunteers for the Avery Point Lighthouse Society, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, have been working extremely hard to restore the Avery Point Light in Connecticut. The 1944 beacon, which was once structurally endangered and threatened with the real possibility of demolition, is now a shining example to what can be accomplished by passionate volunteers who are unwilling to be deterred by the numerous and frustrating challenges of lighthouse preservation.
This wonderful example of restoration (a $500,000 project) is all but complete, except for one small but mighty important aspect - the shining beacon itself within the lantern of the lighthouse. The missing element, which is considered the heart & soul of every lighthouse, will be proudly added on October 15, 2006 when the Avery Point Lighthouse is
relit for the first time in 39 years since it
From all known accounts, it appears that when the 55-foot Avery Point Lighthouse is relit and the first green beams gleam forth from its lantern on the evening of October 15th, that this exciting moment won’t be the only lighthouse history forged that night. Thanks to Carmanah Technologies of Victoria, British Columbia, who graciously donated one of their cutting-edge light emitting diode (LED) beacons to the American Lighthouse Foundation, it is believed that Avery Point will be the first lighthouse in the United States to be successfully outfitted with a self-contained, solar powered LED beacon.
Since June 10, 2006 the Avery Point Lighthouse Society has been conducting a test experiment of the beacon to determine if the LED is able to obtain sufficient sunlight necessary for recharging the optic’s batteries while situated inside the lantern of the lighthouse. To date, this experiment can only be quantified as a resounding success, thanks in part to Avery Point’s uniquely constructed lantern, which allows for ample sunshine to penetrate the interior and recharge the batteries of the beacon.
Carmanah Technologies, one of the worlds leading manufacturers of LED technology, presently supplies the United States Coast Guard with a variety of LED beacons for buoys and light towers throughout
our nation’s waterways. The batteries of Carmanah’s LED beacons require no replacement for up to five years, while the LED itself has an incredible lifespan of up to 100,000 hours. Provided the unit has no defects, the beacon requires absolutely no maintenance whatsoever during the first four or five years of operation. This fascinating technology presents organizations such as the U.S. Coast Guard and nonprofits like Avery Point Lighthouse Society with one of the most reliable navigational lights in history.
On the evening of June 10th a truly exciting moment occurred following the delivery of the Carmanah LED beacon to the Avery Point Lighthouse. The Avery Point Lighthouse Society (APLS), web site captures this brief moment, noting “That night, Jim Streeter, Ron Foster and Ron’s son Joe Foster, returned to the lighthouse to make some adjustments to the height of the staging supporting the LED beacon. While doing so, the light automatically began its operation. The time was noted to be 8:24 P.M.”
The APLS web site went on to note, “Because the light was only temporarily installed for experimental purposes, in conjunction with the fact that official approval has not been yet been granted by the US Coast Guard to have the light operational as a private aid to navigation, it was necessary to cover the lens. Of course several photographs of the light in operation were taken just before the lens unit was covered. A little sentimental, but at 8:24 P.M. on June 10, 2006, the Avery Point Lighthouse had temporarily come back to life, almost thirty-nine years after its beacon had been extinguished.”
This story appeared in the
October 2006 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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