Lighthouse Conservancy offers new look for Derby Pond


Architectural plans for the boathouse.

The Lighthouse may have been in hibernation mode over the winter but the Lighthouse Conservancy and Keepers of the Port Clinton Lighthouse have been busily planning for our first summer season. Two years ago we searched the National Archives and unearthed the original plans for the Port Clinton Boathouse that was originally placed on the eastern side of the Portage River. Prior to electricity when the lighthouse light was oil lit and needed tending, the lighthouse keeper would go to the boathouse and row across the river to the lighthouse in the evening to light the light and again in the morning to extinguish the light and do required maintenance.

We have those original boathouse plans, expect to rebuild the boathouse from those plans this summer, and have permission to place the exact replica boathouse on the western side of Derby Pond in late summer or early fall. The PC boathouse will serve as a location for a modest museum and to provide an initial entry point for a lighthouse tour. Additionally, we are hoping to provide a handicapped accessible paved path around the perimeter of Derby Pond, installation of a fishing dock on the pond, and augment the area with other landscaping features in the Lighthouse Park area (between Washington and Fulton Street). With the appreciated support of our East Perry Street neighbors (with whom we consulted before proceeding) and the encouraging endorsement and “thumbs up” by Mayor Hugh Wheeler and Lisa Sarty’s Parks and Recreation Committee, the Port Clinton Parks Board and the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy received approval to proceed with this ambitious project and you can expect to see some modest work begin yet this spring.

Plan for the changes to Derby Pond at Waterworks Park

We thought we were done with the work of conserving the Port Clinton Lighthouse but we felt this opportunity for enhancement of the lakefront was simply to attractive to let slide by, an obvious boon to our community, and so we proceeded. This enhancement effort will cost a minimum of 190 thousand dollars (65k for the replica boathouse, 30k for pilings-foundation work-engineering, 50k for paved walkway surrounding pond, and the remainder for landscaping features including interpretative signs-modest two to three foot terrain relief installations, provision of native bushes and trees, etc.). We are beginning plans for the boathouse reconstruction now and will proceed with each step as the funds become available and are hoping to have everything paid for yet this summer.

For the lighthouse, no public funds were used for the reconstruction or placement and we relied solely on community support through Keeper memberships, contributions, donations, merchandise sales, and grants. We will proceed similarly with the Lighthouse Park area plans and we encourage Beacon readership to view this enhancement as a concerted community effort. More on this initiative at a later time.

Meanwhile, a small group has been earnestly working on our first Port Clinton Lighthouse Festival that will be held on Saturday, August 5, so please mark that day on your calendar. It will be held in conjunction with the Port Clinton Artists show at Lakeview Park and the annual car show in downtown Port Clinton so it will be a very festive and busy time in the community.

Our first formal lighthouse tours will begin during Memorial Day weekend though we plan to be open some weekend days prior to that time and will inform you of opening times so you can stop by. The best way to get information is to check on our website at where we will publish opening times along with other information.

To date, we have 24 community members who have volunteered to be docents and conduct tours. Docents will have completed a two-hour training session at Ida Rupp Library given by Conservancy President Richard Norgard followed by a one-hour session conducted at the Port Clinton Lighthouse site. Initially, the lighthouse will be open during the summer season from noon through 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We could use additional community members to volunteer as docents.

You can contact us through the provided contact link on the website, drop a note to The PC Lighthouse at PO Box 389 – Port Clinton – 43452, or by simply letting one of our Conservancy members know of your interest (Richard Norgard, Debbie Hymore-Tester, Alex Thomas, Jordan Davenport, Darrell Brand, Brooke Brown, John Smothers, Kathy Mehl, Bill Moon, Bob Butcher, Kyle Johannsen, Doug Garrett).

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1 comment

  • Thomas A. Tag
    Thomas A. Tag Sun, Mar 5, 2017 10:00am Comment Link

    I would like to talk to you about the proposal for your small museum.


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