This past summer, Illinois’s architecturally significant 1873-74 Grosse Point Lighthouse Station has undergone a massive restoration project that will extend the life and educational use of this historic site for the benefit of future generations.
This phase of the restoration, orchestrated primarily through the efforts of Donald Terras, who has been managing the light station for a number of years, covered a wide range of projects and included stabilization of the foundation and remediation of water infiltration throughout the light tower and attached structures.
Preservation work at any lighthouse comes with its own unique set of challenges and at Grosse Point that translates to site access. Although located in a public park, the approximately 2-acre site on which the lighthouse stands is shared with an art center that hosts both formal classroom teaching and day camps; a popular public beach; a picnic shelter that can accommodate 100 people; a large playground with a dedicated design for use by all children, regardless of any who might be physically challenged; volunteer-tended wild flower gardens; public summer day camps; and a formal fire pit (Council Ring) that is a big hit with Scouting groups.
On any given day from May through September, this area, for its size, arguably experiences more programming and recreational activity than any other in the City Evanston, a community of some 75,000 people. On top of all that, the actual size of Grosse Point’s reservation within the complex is only 100’ wide by 300’ long, with the terminus of that 300 feet being the beach on the western shores of Lake Michigan.
Scheduling relatively large scale construction work at the lighthouse, in concert with the wide range of other activities in the area, is difficult to say the least. In the end, mobilization began in mid-April of this year before beach season and summer camp programs began. This gave a lot more flexibility to setting up the construction site and to continue to do the work during the summer months with minimal impact to everything else.
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.
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