Some 50 people showed up Wednesday evening to hear the latest news about the progress being made to update the Port Clinton Lighthouse. The group, formed in 2010, is looking to find a permanent home for the community icon.
“We believe it is a treasure worth preserving,” said spokesman Rich Norgard. “It is representative of the city’s maritime history.” Norgard also noted that there are many groups of people who seek out lighthouses, pointing out the huge crowds that come to view the Marblehead Lighthouse every year. “It is not a panacea for Port Clinton, but it can very well be an important cog in the wheel to assist with the city’s revitalization efforts.”
The key element for the group that has been working to refurbish the old lighthouse is the future location. The current owner of the lighthouse, Darrell Brand of Brand’s Marina, has made it clear that he would like for it to be placed on the waterfront in what is now Waterworks Park. The group has drawn a line creating a corridor along the northeast corner of the property, citing several lakeshore locations that could hold the old lighthouse.
“We will need the passage of two ordinances by City Council,” stated Norgard. “First we will need an agreement between Darrel Brand and the City to transfer ownership of the structure, followed by an ordinance authorizing the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy to renovate and maintain the lighthouse.”
Another committee member, Dr. John Smothers, talked about the work the group has done since its inception three years ago. “The enthusiasm of the committee has been amazing and the Brand family has been very cooperative with our efforts.” He also noted that had the lighthouse not been built originally with a copper roof, it probably would have been destroyed long ago. He estimated the cost of renovation at between $20,000 and $30,000. Much of the materials and labor have been donated to date.
Another legacy individual, Ed Jeremy, grandson of David Jeremy, who owned what is now the east side of Brand’s Marina, talked about when the Lighthouse came down from the end of the pier. “It was in 1950 or 1951,” stated the younger Jeremy, who is now 62 years old. “They were told at that time that the structure could never be used again as a working lighthouse by the Corps of Engineers.”
So work continues on the structure, and discussions also continue between the Conservancy and the City of Port Clinton. Since the proposal from Medina developer Mike Rose is on the table for Waterworks Park, the hope is that the renovated lighthouse might become a part of that development, should it move forward.