In the October 2003 issue of Lighthouse Digest, the story “Stony Point Renovation” took a look at the renovation in progress of the Stony Point Lighthouse in upstate New York. We’ll now go back and see how it turned out.
Sherry and Willy Faust bought the lighthouse from a private owner, originally as a summer home with thoughts of it becoming a year-round residence in the future. They currently spend about a third of their time there. “I can tell you that I am so glad that construction is over, we are finally enjoying the house,” says Sherry. “It seemed like we were building a new house, but wanted to keep it looking the same for the sake of the history of the lighthouse. It was a long, hard process, but well worth it in the end.”
It seemed like the Fausts were always coming upon something that stretched the renovation timeline and added additional costs to the budget. In all, it took the Fausts about three years to complete it at a cost of… a lot!
For example, Sherry Faust explains, “There was a glass four-season greenhouse room off the kitchen. During construction, this room was covered with plywood to avoid any breakage. I liked this room and wanted to keep it. At one point, when I thought that construction was complete, we again faced another ‘little surprise.’ Willy and I were up during the winter. We were watching football on TV, and Willy told me that it was snowing in the room. I couldn’t believe it, but there was snow blowing into the room. The next summer, we replaced the room with a stick built area.”
The New Jersey couple wanted to save and reuse as much of the existing structure as possible. For instance, the flooring: “We took the original floors that were upstairs and added them to the downstairs flooring, enabling us to run these floors throughout the entire first floor. When we were getting down to the end, we weren’t sure there was going to be enough salvaged flooring to finish. We made it by two boards.” Mrs. Faust adds, “The floors were refinished and left their natural color. They are beautiful.”
Sherry and Willy had planned at one time to relight the lighthouse. But the Coast Guard already has a pole light nearby. The Fausts would have had to give the Coast Guard 24-hour access, which would not have been possible. Instead, they are able to illuminate the inside of the lantern room and have accent lights running along the catwalk.
Although the renovation is complete, there is one challenge they have to battle year-round: Mother Nature. In the summer of 2003, the 73-foot tower, built in 1869, was repointed and repainted. Every year since, Willy Faust has had to patch and repaint the structure. They have tried all kinds of paint, even stuff that is hurricane-rated. Lake Ontario was not impressed. The Fausts will continue their research into trying to find something that might give them a summer off from painting.
Speaking of battles, there is one brewing in Henderson, New York, and the surrounding area that could rival the local skirmishes during the War of 1812. The fight is on concerning the placement of electricity-generating windmills. Some proposed as close as just across the road from the Stony Point Lighthouse. As luck would have it, Mr. and Mrs. Faust had acquired some of the land across from their front door, prior to the notice of the “invasion.” But the conflict continues.
There’s another invasion of sorts the Stony Point owners have had to deal with: over-zealous lighthouse enthusiasts. Sherry Faust says most of the visitors are respectful, taking their photos from the road. But some cannot contain themselves - even to the point of peeping through their windows. Case in point: “One winter we had someone just open the door and ask ‘Is there a gift-shop here?’” Sherry says that for the most part, they have met some really nice people. She goes on to say that if their family happens to be out and about in the yard, a polite request might get you a vantage point of the tower from the lakeside.
Sherry and Willy Faust say they had no idea about the high level of interest in lighthouses. Sherry says she was at an art fair in the area and saw a photograph of her Stony Point Lighthouse and remarked, “That is a nice shot,” to the photographer. He started to go through his photos and asked her if she was interested in lighthouses? She replied, “Yeah, a little bit.”
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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