Abandoned to the elements since the late 1970s, Michigan’s magnificent 1908 Rock of Ages Lighthouse is getting a new life thanks to dedicated volunteers from the Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society. Founded in 2008 by David Gerth, the group has partnered with the Isle Royale National Park, who now owns the lighthouse, to bring the historic structure back to life.
It is estimated that the restoration, which started in 2017 at the ten-story-tall lighthouse east of Isle Royale in Lake Superior, will take anywhere from three to five years to complete. Plans call for the lighthouse to be restored to its 1933 time era when 125 survivors from the wreck of the 223-foot-long passenger ship George M. Cox were rescued by the lighthouse keepers – one of the largest mass rescues in U.S. lighthouse history.
Restoration work completed so far in the 4th floor keeper’s quarters and the 3rd floor kitchen include plaster repair and painting of the walls and ceilings, installation of historically accurate flooring material, replacement of custom wood trim for doors and windows, and the installation of reproduction windows. Restoration work has also been completed in the stairwells up to the 5th floor.
All restoration materials have been purchased by the Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society through donations and some grants.
David Gerth said, “The history and future of this publicly owned place belongs to everyone. With the help of all those who love Isle Royale, Lake Superior, and its history, Rock of Ages Lighthouse will become a living lighthouse once again.”
To learn how you can become involved as a volunteer or make an on-line donation, go to www.rockofageslps.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also write to them at Rock of Ages Lighthouse, P.O. Box 3531, Duluth, MN 55803.
This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 2018 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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