Digest>Archives> Jul/Aug 2015

St. Marks Unveils Restored Fourth Order Fresnel Lens

By Betsy Kellenberger


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James Burnett, Project Leader, North Florida ...
Photo by: Lou Kellenberger

The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, just south of Tallahassee, Florida, recently unveiled the preserved, historical 4th order Fresnel lens that occupied the lantern room of the St. Marks Lighthouse from 1867 to 2014. It will remain in the Refuge Visitor Center until preservation measures are finished in the lighthouse.

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Wanda Mayo of the Florida Lighthouse Association ...
Photo by: Lou Kellenberger

After 147 years of service, the lens was carefully removed from the lantern room atop the lighthouse in November and packed for the trip to Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Museum, where the lens was cleaned and preserved by the special team of Ellen Henry, curator; Mike Bennett, Director of Operations; Tom Di Tusa, Restoration Technician; and Ed Gunn, Executive Director of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. The restoration took about 500 hours of staff time, which they donated to support the St. Marks Lighthouse preservation project.

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The St. Marks Lighthouse lens on display.
Photo by: Lou Kellenberger

In addition to the in-kind donations from Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Association, funding and support for the lens preservation came from the Florida Lighthouse Association, Ring Power, Lambert Construction, and the St. Marks Refuge Association.

The lens was unveiled at a private reception on April 18th in the Refuge Visitor Center. Special guests included the families of the lighthouse keepers: Ken Detzner, Secretary of State; Bill Montford, State Senator; Halsey Beshears, State Representative; and Wanda Mayo, Florida Lighthouse Association. A public reception to unveil the lens was held the next day with refreshments and historical presentations.

A finance committee is in the process of obtaining grants for preservation as well as planning a capital campaign which will be kicked off later this year.

This story appeared in the Jul/Aug 2015 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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