The first two phases of the project concerning the first-order Fresnel lens at Point Conception Lighthouse in Santa Barbara County, California were completed in June, with the restoration of the lens at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) now underway. (See “157 Steps...” in the January/February 2013 issue of Lighthouse Digest for more.) Precipitating the project is the transfer of ownership of the lighthouse from the U.S. Coast Guard to the U.S. Air Force’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Coast Guard will retain ownership of equipment in the lighthouse, but nothing else. A modern light will be maintained by the CG in the tower, but the original lens and pedestal are no longer needed. The lens had been decommissioned in 1999.
The Coast Guard has chosen the SBMM as the new keeper of the lens on their behalf, which will allow the general public to get an up close look at this gem. That had never been possible before because of the remoteness of the lighthouse location and the private property that surrounded it.
In a span of two weeks, three lampists (there are only a total of five approved by the USCG in the country), led by Jim Woodward, dismantled the lens and pedestal and had them transported to the museum. This was no easy task since there are no roads close enough to the lighthouse to allow everything to be loaded straight from the building to a truck. The photos in this article give you a good thumbnail progression of the work that was done to make this all possible.
Now that the parts and pieces are at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the work begins on the restoration and rebuilding of the pedestal and lens, with an official unveiling scheduled on September 21, 2013. That story will be in an upcoming issue of Lighthouse Digest.
Fund-raising continues to help finance this $500,000 undertaking. To find out how you can support this exhibit, and help preserve an important piece of national maritime history, contact Executive Director Greg Gorga at (805) 962-8404, ext.103, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the lens project in general, go to www.sbmm.org.
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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