The long and ongoing restoration of Canada’s Point Clark Lighthouse in Kincardine, Ontario is getting closer to completion. But it has been expensive. The final phase of the restoration of the 1859 tower, one of Canada’s six “Imperial Towers” built in the 1850s on Lake Huron, will cost $1.5 million, bringing the total restoration cost to $4.7 million.
Lighthouse Digest first reported about the problem of chunks of limestone rock falling off the tower in 2008. At that time, to prevent any injuries, a fence was installed around the lighthouse, which had always been open to the public. By July 2010 the lighthouse was closed to the public and a $500,000 restoration was planned. But it was soon realized that a half a million dollars would be far short of what would be needed.
It seems that each time restoration crews started to work on the tower, new problems were encountered. Some of the problems were deemed so dangerous that the work crews were ordered to stop while additional funding could be secured by Parks Canada, which manages the historic site.
This is the third summer that the lighthouse has been closed to the public for its ongoing restoration. Workmen will work on the tower as long as the weather permits for the remainder of 2013 and hope to complete the restoration in 2014.
The full scale of the restoration work being done is too long to be fully explained here, but it includes replacement and repair to over 300 of the lighthouse stones, many which weigh 800 pounds each. During the final phase of restoration work, crews are injecting lime-based grout into the stone joints and into the rubble core of the tower to stabilize the structure. The current work includes cutting, chipping, raking, and repointing 100% of the exterior stone masonry joints.
Interestingly, during the long process of the restoration, some media reports have indicated that many people have actually complained about the restoration of the lighthouse. Some said the scaffolding and wrapping took away from their chance to get a good photo of the lighthouse, and others complained that they couldn’t climb the lighthouse because it has been closed during restoration. Although the restoration has taken much longer than expected, what these people failed to realize is that the costly restoration was being done for their own good and that of future generations. In fact, most lighthouse aficionados love to take photos of a lighthouse being restored and others find constriction and restoration photos to be a big attraction. Not only will lighthouse restoration photos become historic images in the future, they show that another lighthouse being saved is pretty exciting and is being done for their benefit and that of future generations.
Because restoration images are so important to history, we are sharing with you a number of photos of the tower over a period of the time the restoration.
This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 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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