Stokes Bay historic lighthouse has a new home and is completely restored
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Stokes Bay Lighthouse has a new home at Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre
It all began in Stokes Bay in the middle of winter
For 107 years, the Stokes Bay lighthouse did its job as a beacon on the shores of Lake Huron at Stokes Bay on the Bruce Peninsula.
When the government decided to begin dismantling lighthouses, Bruce County Tourism realized that the economic tourism value of lighthouses was enormous and decided to capture the value by saving a lighthouse.
In the middle of December, 2009, a special helicopter was brought in from the United States to lift the lighthouse and transport it to a waiting transport flat-bed truck.
Museum Director was on hand to see the lighthouse arrive
The truck then transported the entire lighthouse to Southampton, Ontario to eventually become a part of the Bruce Country Museum and Cultural Centre.
...carefully lowering the top onto a log base
Temporarily housed in the Saugeen Shores Town equipment yard, the lighthouse sat over winter until a group of volunteers began to take action in the late spring of 2010.
Mike Sterling, a Southampton resident, undertook the project to save the lighthouse and make it a part of the Bruce County Museum's marine heritage theme. Once again, the community came to the forefront and the lighthouse was moved to the Museum through the efforts of trucking and high-level crane expertise
... ground is prepared and forms for footings installed
Before arriving at its final home however, preparation of the land had to be completed, which included digging out the area and having cement footings poured and leveled.
Mike Sterling (L) & Ron Seaman (R) make sure the footings are level
A large crane was then brought in to physically lift the lighthouse and carefully lower it into position.
Once positioned, the painstaking work began to repair the damage done over the more than one hundred years. Sterling and a handful of local volunteers worked over the spring and summer on scaffolding to strip the layers of paint using a heat gun and scraper to bring the lighthouse back to the original wood.
... stripping the paint a few inches at a time
After being completely stripped and the windows repaired, the lighthouse was given a new coat of primer, paint and topped off with the original vibrant red colour for which lighthouses are known and a new railing section installed.
The interior of the Lighthouse was also restored with an effort to preserve its unique heritage.
The lighthouse with the historic General Hunter ballast stone brought in
Today, the lighthouse stands looking over Fairy Lake and is now part of the Bruce County Museum's Marine Heritage exhibit. The ballast stone that was found at the General Hunter shipwreck found on Southampton Beach, has also been brought in to round out the marine historical theme.
The patio area has been extended and wild flowers and a butterfly garden are to be planted.
The little lighthouse now is about 40 feet above Fairy Lake and will soon have its own light to shine in its retirement.
Painting complete and plaque installed
The view from inside the Museum's upper level
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Wednesday, September 08, 2010