Lights Out at the Jupiter Lighthouse?
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse to Undergo Crucial Restoration Work In May
Jupiter, FL: The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse that faithfully shines out to sea each night now needs some TLC and support from the community. Rusted areas on the cast iron roof plates are deteriorating rapidly due to weathering and need repair to preserve the integrity of the structure and keep the 1860 lighthouse tower and rare First Order Fresnel Lens waterproof. Protection from water intrusion is top priority for the historic Lighthouse.
With permission from the US Coast Guard, the Jupiter Light will be turned off in the month of May in order to wrap the lens and build a special encasement to protect the First Order Lens during the work on the roof. “For those who love our iconic lighthouse, this is an opportunity to really make a difference with a donation to the roof restoration fund,” states Jamie Stuve, President & CEO of the Loxahatchee River Historical Society. “And, donors to the restoration fund will be invited to a special Re-Light the Light countdown party when the project is completed,” says Stuve.
Other preservation work will also be performed during May and include repairs to the cupola and watch room door, and the installation of a safety handrail at the top of the spiral staircase for easier entry into the watch room.
An “A Team” of Lighthouse experts has been assembled for the project. Experienced lighthouse preservationists include historic architect Ken Smith from Ken Smith Architects in Jacksonville, lens conservationist Joe Cocking from Lighthouse Lamp Shop, metalsmith expert Alex Klahm from Architectural Metal and Design and Anthony Houllis from Razorback LLC in Tarpon Springs.
“These historic preservation professionals have restored many of the lighthouses in Florida and around the country. Ken Smith, Alex Klahm and Anthony Houllis just recently restored the Gasparilla Light in Boca Grande. Joe Cocking restored the Jupiter Light lens in 2000 and has served as our lens specialist for the past 17 years,” says Stuve.
There is a meticulous process that must be followed in caring for the iconic Light. The paint on the roof and cupola will be removed to bare metal, and then repairs to the roof plates and seams can be made. Finally the roof will receive a marine zinc primer and coats of long-lasting, high grade black paint. This will require encapsulating the paint as it is removed. Special equipment such as scaffolding will be used for workers to access the top of the Lighthouse.
Additionally, all the metal paint will be prepped and repainted, including the gallery deck (where visitors walk around the top), door, railings, catwalk and triangular astragal frames surrounding the weather glass. The masonry beneath the gallery deck will also be painted. Other minor repairs will be made prior to painting.
The lighthouse tower will be closed for climbing during the month of May during the project, however, visitors will have the opportunity to see the brand-new exhibit Keeping the Light at Jupiter Inlet: Adventures in the Lives of Lighthouse Keepers, in the Lighthouse Keepers Workshop. Admission prices will be reduced during the May restoration. The LRHS also notes that additional days in June may be needed if any of the work is delayed due to weather.
The Loxahatchee River Historical Society, the nonprofit that operates the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, has been awarded grants and donations towards the $152,000 project. These include $40,000 from the Bureau of Land Management, $25,400 from the Loxahatchee Guild, $6,000 from individual donations and a pending $30,000 grant from the Florida Lighthouse Association.
The Historical Society is counting on donations from the community for the remaining critical funding. To contribute to the restoration work, you can donate securely online at www.jupiterlighthouse.org. Click the Donate button at the top of the home page or you can send a check made out to LRHS and mail to 500 Captain Armour’s Way, Jupiter, FL, 33469. Please note that it is for the Lighthouse Restoration. All donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated. For further information, contact Belle Forino, Development Director at 561-747-8380 x107.
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, Lighthouse Park, 500 Captain Armour’s Way, Jupiter, FL, 33469
Operated by the Loxahatchee River Historical Society a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization celebrating 45 years and partner in the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area, National Conservation Lands.
Photos: Photos provided by Stephen Ippolito, and the LRHS, courtesy Annie Potts and Jack Hardway.