The Next Chapter: Restoring the Old (1840) Presque Isle Lighthouse
When the Presque Isle Township Museum Society was formed in 1998, we tackled a big project—raising funds and then restoring the 1905 Keeper’s House at the New Presque Isle Lighthouse Park.
Well, guess what?
We’re tackling another big project—the restoration of the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse just a mile down the road! The 1840 Lighthouse is one of the oldest on the Great Lakes and its charming stone steps have supported thousands of visitors as they’ve climbed the tower. But the structure is crumbling and desperately needs restoration!
A plan to restore the Old Lighthouse and its grounds has been developed. We’ve partnered with Presque Isle Township and the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (CFNEM) to create the Presque Isle Township Lighthouses Restoration Fund, with an initial goal of $250,000.
On Giving Tuesday (November 27, 2018), the initial fund of $15,000 was increased by $3,300 through gifts from generous donors. If you were among them, we thank you! Since then, the fund has continued to increase through donations and now stands at over $46,232.
Restoration work on the Old Lighthouse began in 2019. Beginning with the outside of the thick walls, workers removed broken and crumbling mortar for the first 16 to 18 inches, about halfway through the tower wall. New mortar was put in, stones were reset, and a fresh coat of paint was applied. A casual observer would have thought the restoration was complete, but it was far from done. In 2020, the workers moved to the inside of the lighthouse to continue the restoration work on the remaining inner 16 to 18 inches of the walls.
Meanwhile, work on other historic structures in the Lighthouse Parks has been undertaken by the Township, including repairing the rotting rear entryway of the 1905 Keeper’s House, replacing cedar shake shingles on the roof of the 1870 Keeper’s house and breezeway, and painting the New Lighthouse cupola and tower.
If you missed Giving Tuesday, you can still help save our historic Presque Isle Lighthouses. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation. Go to http://bit.ly/savepilights and make a secure online donation. If you’d prefer to donate via check (made payable to the CFNEM, with “Lighthouses Restoration Fund” in the memo line), mail it to the Presque Isle Township Museum Society, P.O. Box 208, Presque Isle, MI 49777.
Thank you for making the Presque Isle Lighthouses a priority in your charitable giving. You’re making a difference for future generations of lighthouse lovers.