|Page 3: Thomas Point Shoal & Hooper Island Lighthouse Updates |
by Henry Gonzalez
|Over the fall we put the fi nishing touches on an interpretation plan for the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse that focuses on historic fabric, exhibits, displays furnishings and accessories. The planning effort was done by a small group of historic
preservation and lighthouse history professionals – Ralph Eshelman, Candace Clifford and Sherri Marsh – as well as our very own Historian, Sandy Clunies (lighthouse keeper historian and genealogist extraordinaire), and me. The work was funded in part by grants from Preservation Maryland and the Four Rivers Heritage Area. Of course, before we can start putting together displays and adding furnishings, we need to complete the restoration of the interior. As reported in previous updates here in the newsletter, we have made good progress with the paint stripping in the kitchen, and will fi nish that up this spring.
During the last few months of 2009 we shifted our focus on a room on the 1st story of the lighthouse that used to be the Coast Guard’s radio room and center of operations. Our intent is to restore the room to what it looked like during the Coast Guard era, using a photograph from the mid-1970’s as our model. The plywood-paneled walls were cleaned, sanded down, patched, sanded again, and fi nally a fi rst coat of primer was applied before we shut down for the winter. We have obtained access to a government-issue desk and bookcase from that era, and in the spring we will fi nish painting the room (a blue-green standard Coast Guard color) and adding the period furnishings. As far as I know, Thomas Point will be the only lighthouse open to the public that will have rooms interpreted for both the Lighthouse Service era as well as the Coast Guard era.
At Hooper Island, we conducted a couple of fi nal visits in October and November to continue our cleaning efforts and to fi nish making the lighthouse watertight. Robert Holland led the team in November, which, among other things, installed a new exterior door at the main entrance and one at the gallery deck level. We also received the fi nal report from Keast & Hood for the structural assessment of the lighthouse. Overall, the lighthouse is in good structural condition, with a few tasks that need to be conducted over the next couple of years to repair some damaged masonry as well as some corroded and weakened steel areas in the interior. We also received excellent news of being awarded a grant to help fund the installation of new access ladders and hatches, which is a critical step in increasing the safety of our work there.
We welcome your help in joining us to continue our preservation efforts at both lighthouses. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
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