Thanks to John Smothers and Bill Moon, with the help of Jordan Davenport, Brooke Brown and other volunteers, the Port Clinton Lighthouse is 90% restored. The lighthouse, which once sat on the pier that is now property of the Port Clinton Yacht Club, has been going through restoration for roughly two years. Right now, the Port Clinton Lighthouse is kept in a storage facility in Brands’ Marina. The members of the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy hope that will soon change.
“We are ready to move soon,” said Rich Norgard of the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy. “Our moving date is contingent on our agreement with Brands’ and the City of Port Clinton. Both have been very cooperative in our project.”
The lighthouse is a break-water lighthouse that is made of wood. These types of lighthouses are hard to come by now; they have either rotted away or have caught fire. “This makes our lighthouse extra special,” said Moon.
John Smothers, left, and Bill Moon, right, working on the Port Clinton Lighthouse.
Moon and Smothers work on restoring the lighthouse every day. They have been meticulous in maintaining the originality of the structure; this is important in obtaining the certification for it being a historical marker. The boards of the lighthouse are 7/8” thick, to be accurate in the restoration. Modern day boards are ¾” thick. Some of the original planks on the outside of the lighthouse are still there. “The bottom of the lighthouse was rotted away,” said Moon, “but we were able to salvage some of the wood.”
When the time comes, the lighthouse will be brought down the river by barge and placed in its new home, next to Derby Pond in Waterworks Park.
“Once the lighthouse is out there, the intent will be to open it to the public,” said Norgard. “We would like to educate people about the history of the lighthouse.”
The Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy hopes to have a dedication in July or August. The original opening of the Port Clinton Lighthouse was July 15, 1896, so they are hoping the timing will be right that the dedication can coincide with the anniversary.
“Once we finalize everything with the City, we can move,” said Norgard. “We will have an irrevocable license to own the lighthouse. The State Coastal Management leases the land to the city and in turn, the city will sublease us the land for the lighthouse. We will be using a 25’x30’ plot of land for the house and the Lighthouse Conservancy will maintain the land.”
For more information on the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy visit their Facebook page or website at www.lighthousefriends.com.