Erie Land Lighthouse Restoration Nearly Complete:
New top to be delivered Thursday
March 3, 2004
(Erie, PA) With only the re-fabricated lantern room and roof remaining to be installed, the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority and project contractor Fiske & Sons are only weeks away from completing the long-awaited restoration of Erie's Land Lighthouse which was built in 1867.
On Thursday, March 4, Fiske will transport the replica of the original top to the site where its 10 windows will be installed. Upon completion, the replica top, with its lantern room, copper roof, and observation decks will be hoisted over 50 feet to the top of the column.
Restoration specialists, Fiske & Sons, Inc. of Erie, have been working since July 2003 on the lighthouse, which is located above the entrance to Erie's harbor at the foot of Lighthouse Street on the city's east side. Fiske has replaced the damaged mortar on the exterior, cleaned the lighthouse's exterior sandstone, refurbished the iron staircase, and replaced over 200 deteriorated bricks on the interior.
The major part of the project is the reconstruction and installation of the lighthouse lantern room, which had been completely removed in 1899 by the United States Coast Guard and transferred to the Marblehead Lighthouse in Sandusky, Ohio. The Land Lighthouse has been dark ever since.
The Port Authority, which funded the restoration and managed the project, became involved upon the urging of private citizens wanting to see the lighthouse restored. The Port Authority felt that the lighthouse represented an important part of the city's history and the development of Erie as a Great Lakes Port.
"We wanted to preserve the lighthouse since it is one of the last remaining pieces of our community's maritime heritage and also because so many travelers and tourists enjoy visiting this piece of history. We owe it to future generations to be stewards of the lighthouse so their children can also enjoy and learn from it," explained Raymond P. Schreckengost, P.E., Executive Director.
Fiske & Sons, Inc. is a fourth generation Erie company with 80 years experience in building preservation and restoration. Fiske has performed restoration and preservation work on numerous buildings in northwestern Pennsylvania such as St. Peter's Cathedral and the Erie Soldiers & Sailors Home. Fiske & Sons worked closely with Bruce Simmons of Simmons Associates of Corry, PA and Tom Barhhart of Erie to bring the return the lighthouse to its original appearance using modern materials and local craftsmen.
Funds for the $390,000 project were provided by the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission (PHMC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) through the Transportation Enhancements Program.
Upon the completion of the project in the Spring of 2004, the Port Authority will rededicate the lighthouse and unveil a new state historic marker at the site.