Following the latest restoration project coordinated by the Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, you might say the public now has a new “red carpet” welcome when they visit Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse!
Whether visitors choose to ascend the light tower and admire the amazing views obtained from its lofty perch above the waters of Rockland Harbor and Penobscot Bay or walk in the steps of the “wickie” as they explore the adjacent keeper’s dwelling, the experience all starts by entering the engine room where both opportunities of wonderment intersect.
An engine room may not sound like a fun place, but at Rockland Breakwater, this former area where all things mechanical once resided for the light station’s fog horn, has become a fascinating gateway to a one-of-a-kind experience enjoyed by countless thousands.
The J.B. Leslie Company of South Berwick, Maine, completed its work to renew the appearance of the engine room’s masonry floor in September 2013, and in the wake of the $10,000 project, yet another “wow” factor has been added to the ongoing effort to bring this beloved sentinel back to its former glory.
Prior to the project, the engine room floor was dingy and stained by generator fuel from decades gone by, as well as being uneven and hampered by advancing cracks that comes from age, the settling of the structure and the pounding of the sea.
With approval from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, the Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights authorized a scope of work that included the demolition of the masonry floor to depths of up to two inches, at which point afterwards, a membrane was installed atop the base that separated the old masonry from the new.
To help minimize the effects of cracking, the J.B. Leslie Company poured the floor in three sections and added control joints to better absorb the pounding caused by storm seas that buffet the granite pier upon which the lighthouse is situated.
Once the cement cured, the floor was prepped, primed and repainted a shiny red color, with an aggregate added to the topcoats to help with safety when visitors walk upon the masonry with wet shoes.
In addition to the engine room serving as the welcome area for visitors, the Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights utilize the space as a gift shop, which will be returning to this location in spring 2014 (the gift shop had been temporarily moved to the keeper’s house this season to accommodate the work project).
ALF’s Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights are to be commended for their ongoing commitment to restoring the 1902 Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. Each year a new achievement is added that brings this sentinel ever closer to its original luster, which is exciting for the public and lighthouse preservationists alike.
If you did not have a chance to check out this new “red carpet “ welcome at the lighthouse, be sure to make a point to do so in 2014 – you will be wowed!
The American Lighthouse Foundation and its chapter, Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights, wish to thank Prock Marine of Rockland, who literally and figuratively gave a big lift to the engine room floor project at Rockland Breakwater. Prock Marine graciously donated the services of a tug and barge to transport three pallets (200 bags) of cement mix to the lighthouse. This much appreciated kindness was a huge help to the project. Thank you, Prock Marine!