Most lighthouses don’t move around much, but Port Clinton’s little lighthouse is looking for a new home. The four-sided pyramidical wooden structure was erected in 1896 at the mouth of the Portage River and was relocated to its current home on the Brand’s Marina property 60 years ago. In 2011, Darrell Brand initiated discussions on transferring
ownership to the city of Port Clinton. That year the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy (the PCLC), a non-profit group, was formed by a group of local citizens interested in restoring the lighthouse and helping it find a new home.
The group of volunteers, spearheaded by Rich Norgard, has been working since that time on restoring and repairing the lighthouse. The cupola was removed in 2011 to an indoor facility at Brand’s Marina and has been mostly restored by John Smothers , Bill Moon and their group of volunteers. Tuesday the base of the lighthouse was lifted and moved to facilitate repairing and replacing the flooring.
The PCLC has developed a proposal for the relocation of the lighthouse that was sent to Port Clinton City Council on Thursday. According to the proposal, the potential transfer of the lighthouse to the city “will result in the permanent preservation of a structure with significant historical importance and an iconic symbol of the city…If implemented quickly, its effects will be felt as soon as this summer and will enhance the impact of tourism generated during the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial festivities.” The plan suggests three possible locations along a lakefront corridor. Alex Thomas, secretary/treasurer of the group, emphasizes that the lighthouse relocation can be accomplished independent of other plans for downtown and waterfront development.
“It (the restoration and relocation of the lighthouse) is not by itself going to be the salvation of Port Clinton, but can be something meaningful and striking that is a piece of the picture,” said Thomas.
The goal of the PCLC is to have the lighthouse completely restored and in place by June 21. Once it is in place, the restoration of the siding and interior would be completed. The PCLC would implement the transfer and maintain the lighthouse at no cost to the city.
Norgard’s letter in the Soundoff section on page two of today’s Beacon further details ThePCLC’s proposal and efforts.