BRISTOL (AP) – Pemaquid Point Light, an iconic Maine lighthouse that’s guided ships at sea for 172 years, will keep on shining for another century thanks to a $106,000 restoration that’s scheduled to wrap up next week.

“We are witnessing lighthouse history,” said Bob Trapani Jr., executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation. “This project is the first significant structural repair since it was built in 1835.”

Pemaquid Point Light’s image appears on the Maine state quarter, and the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

The restoration project is being funded with grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Lowe’s Charitable Foundation, as well as $46,000 raised by the Friends of Pemaquid Point Light. The project started in late June.

Workers have repositioned granite blocks, replaced mortar joints and stripped away the exterior. They’re now in the process of putting on a new coat of stucco. After that, the structure will be topped with a fresh coat of paint that won’t trap moisture, as previous coats did, causing mortar to erode faster.

The American Lighthouse Foundation has a lease agreement with the Coast Guard to operate and maintain the lighthouse through 2021. The foundation has an arrangement with a local group, Friends of Pemaquid Point Light, to provide volunteers to keep the lighthouse open to the public from Memorial Day through Columbus Day.

About 30,000 people travel to the end of the Bristol peninsula each year to climb the winding staircase that leads to the lighthouse’s lantern room, said Marty Welt, president of the Friends of Pemaquid group.

The original Pemaquid Point Light was built in 1827 but had to be torn down because masons back then mixed mortar with sea water, Welt said. The newly restored lighthouse was built on the same site in 1835.

The restoration work is being done by masons from the J.B. Leslie Co. of South Berwick. Jim Leslie, president of the company, said workers were surprised to discover that the original granite masonry was still intact after more than 170 years.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.