Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, July 10, 2014
IHT awarded grant for Mark Island lighthouse repair
Island Heritage Trust has received a $5,000 grant from the New England Lighthouse Lovers, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, according to a press release from the organization. Writing on behalf of NELL, Preservation Committee Chairman Frank Carbone noted that the “excellent supporting documentation,” provided by IHT Executive Director Mike Little, was a significant factor in IHT’s selection for the grant. For many years administered by the U.S. Lighthouse Service and later by the U.S. Coast Guard, Mark Island Light off Stonington came into IHT’s possession in 1998. While the Coast Guard still maintains the automated foghorn and light in the tower, the building and the island are owned and maintained by IHT. Currently, the brick structure needs to be scraped, mortar joints repointed, and new “breathable” paint applied, at an estimated cost of $26,880.
Prior to being awarded the NELL grant, the trust had $8,000 saved for Mark Island Light maintenance. Board Chairman Ellen Rowan said, “We were thrilled to get the grant. We’ve been worried for some time about funding for Mark Island Light maintenance. The lighthouse is such a fixture of island life and has long been a beacon for both the working watermen and pleasure boaters. IHT is mindful of the history and significance of the lighthouse to the community, and, consequently, we don’t take the responsibility of its care lightly. This grant will help move us considerably closer to our goal.”
For a history of the light and its keepers, see Marnie Reed Crowell’s book, Mark Island Light, available at IHT’s Nature Shop on Sunset Road. For information about donating to the Lighthouse Fund, contact IHT at 348-2455 or at islandheritagetrust.org.