The Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse (FOWIL), a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation undertook the first major phase of the restoration at the historic Wood Island Lighthouse Station located on a 35-acre island off Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Restoring an island lighthouse is no easy task. Construction boats had to ferry all tools, equipment, scaffolding, and restoration material to the island and then transport the materials across to the other side of the island for the two-month restoration project that included the interior and exterior of the lighthouse tower and its adjoining oil room.
Brad Coupe, Chair of the FOWIL, spoke of the excitement the group feels as work got underway. "We are ecstatic to see this goal become a reality. For six long years, our volunteers have been at this, devoting countless hours to maintaining the lighthouse and raising money," he said. This phase of the work was funded entirely by membership donations, summer visitors who took the lighthouse tours, funds raised at FOWIL art shows, sales of lighthouse merchandise and by grants the group had attracted.
Wood Island Lighthouse, commissioned by Thomas Jefferson in 1808, was on Lighthouse Digest's "Doomsday List" of America's most endangered lighthouses in 2003. "We are pleased today to be pulling it back from the brink," Coupe said. The tower is the oldest structure at the Light Station having been erected in 1838. Hollis Curtis, owner of Stone Age Masonry, the company hired to do the restoration work said, "We are excited to have been entrusted with the job of renewing this historic structure."
The tower work is the first of two phases planned to be completed in the next year. The second phase will move to the keeper's house. The second phase will tackle the exterior siding, windows and roof, and it will return the porch to its attractive original design from 1906, when this house was expanded to its current Dutch Colonial design. The second phase will be funded by a HUD grant sponsored by Senator Susan Collins from a long process originated by the American Lighthouse Foundation.
Assisting FOWIL with the design of the restoration work and guiding them through the historic preservation regulatory process was a team led by Ed Theriault of Theriault/Landmann Associates, Inc. of Portland, and Scott Whitaker of Building Envelope Consultants of South Portland, Maine.
To learn more about Wood Island Lighthouse you can visit their web site at www.WoodIslandLighthouse.org.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2010 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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