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 American Lighthouse Foundation, Inc.

P.O. Box 565

Rockland, Maine 04841

Phone: 207-594-4174

 

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The American Lighthouse  Foundation is a  Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Organization dedicated  to the preservation of America's historic lighthouses.

 

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June 1, 2010…Update # 3 – The 2010 restoration of Owls Head Lighthouse is an $80,000 project being funded and managed by the nonprofit American Lighthouse Foundation and ALF chapter, Friends of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

 

Owls Head Light Restoration Perseveres Through the Blasts of the Fog Horn

 

By Bob Trapani, Jr.

 

 
 

Fog and misty sea conditions are no strangers along the coast of Midcoast Maine. Their shrouding presence often shows up at the doorstep of Owls Head Lighthouse, prompting the light station’s fog horn to spring into action to help warn mariners of nearby navigational dangers. 

 

When this time-honored

Fog rolls in over West Penobscot Bay, causing the fog horn at Owls Head to sound its warning to mariners

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.     

Fog rolls in over West Penobscot Bay,

causing the fog horn at Owls Head to

 sound its warning to mariners

 
 

“battle” between fog and the sound signal occurs at Owls Head Light, visitors usually “run for cover” to avoid the horn’s mighty blasts.

 

This is not the case for the work crews of J.B. Leslie Company, Inc., who have been contracted by the American Lighthouse Foundation to facilitate historic restoration work at the site.

 

With no place to hide and a project that must be carried out in a timely manner, crews have persevered with their work through stretches of time this spring when the station’s raucous fog horn, which is located just below the light tower, is sounding.

 

 

 

A close-up view of the ELG-300/02 sound signal at Owls Head Lighthouse

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.     

A close-up view of the

ELG-300/02 sound signal

 at Owls Head Lighthouse

The noise rattles the scaffolding around the tower and everything on it, and breaks up all cell phone communication.

 

Moving from the east around to west side of the lighthouse offers very little in the way of relief from the horn’s audible barrage, and though ear protection helps, the crews still “feel” the noise as it moves through the air around them.

 

“At first, the fog horn can be annoying,” said Jim Leslie, president of J.B. Leslie Company, “but after a bit of time, you actually adapt the timing of your conversations around the horn’s characteristics. In some ways, it is sort of a comforting sound.”

 

 

 

As modern day sound signals go, the fog horn at Owls Head Lighthouse is an audible force to contend with. Its powerful “voice” harkens back to a bygone era when fog horns were vital aids to navigation. The long range ELG-300/02 signal, with its pair of steel diaphragms, is nothing short of an acoustic warrior under foggy or low visibility conditions.

 

Despite contending with the periodic challenges posed by the presence of the fog horn at the site, crews have remained on schedule and accomplished much of the project’s labor intensive work.

 

 
 

By June 1, 2010, J.B. Leslie Company had completed the repointing work on the brick interior and exterior, rehabilitated and primed the interior ironwork (staircase, landing, ladder to the lantern, window frames, etc.), repaired the masonry foundation of the tower and cleaned the exterior of the lighthouse in preparation for the repainting phase.

 

In talking about some of

Crewmembers of J.B. Leslie Company, Inc. (L to R) Jake Johnson, Jim Leslie, Dave Eastman & Alan Spier

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

Crewmembers of J.B. Leslie Company, Inc.

(L to R) Jake Johnson, Jim Leslie,

Dave Eastman & Alan Spier

 
 

the intricate aspects of the work, Jim Leslie noted, “One place we have paid attention to detail was under the very bottom of the staircase, which is quite hard to get to. It’s probably a spot the public will never look at, but it matters nonetheless that it was properly addressed.”

 

 “Another aspect that might go unseen by the public but remains important was the effort required to completely clean the granite doorway, as well as the window jambs, headers and sills before repainting. The finer, less glamorous details of this kind of project matter, which is something our crews take great pride in accomplishing.”

 

The restoration work is now entering its final phases during the month of June, and though the project is not complete, the results to date are already starting to restore the light tower’s “sparkle” and splendor.

 

When the public is finally able to view the completed effort up close and personal later this summer, they will be wowed at how great Owls Head Lighthouse will appear during visits and tours, but will still “run for cover” when the station’s fog horn flexes its diaphragms!

 

 

 

Jake Johnson uses a needle gun to remove old coatings from the face of the brickwork

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

Jake Johnson uses a needle gun to remove old coatings from the face of the brickwork

 

 

Dave Eastman uses

 a needle gun to remove old coatings from the face of the brickwork

Dave Eastman uses a needle gun to remove old coatings from the face of the brickwork

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

 

 

Jake Johnson uses hand tools to remove old coatings and rust from the treads & risers of the staircase

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

Jake Johnson uses

hand tools to remove old coatings and rust from the treads & risers

of the staircase

 

 

Dave Eastman is shown "striking" the new

mortar joints during

 the repointing phase

Dave Eastman is shown "striking" the new mortar joints during the repointing phase

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

 

 

(L to R) Alan Spier, Jake Johnson & Dave Eastman inside Owls Head Lighthouse

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

(L to R) Alan Spier,

Jake Johnson & Dave Eastman inside Owls Head Lighthouse

 

 

Dave Eastman & Alan Spier work on repointing the tower's interior brickwork

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

Dave Eastman & Alan Spier

 work on repointing the

 tower's interior brickwork

 

Jake Johnson hand-scrubs the brick exterior prior to the repainting phase

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

Jake Johnson hand-scrubs

 the brick exterior prior to

the repainting phase

 

 

 

Jim Leslie uses an

all-saw to cut safe, square lines around a spalling brick designated for replacement along

the tower's exterior

Jim Leslie uses an all-saw to cut safe, square lines around a spalling brick designated for replacement along the tower's exterior

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

 

 

Dave Eastman hand-scrubs the brick exterior prior to the repainting phase

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

Dave Eastman

hand-scrubs the brick

exterior prior to the

repainting phase

 

 

Alan Spier scrubs the brickwork...note the top & bottom difference on the tower

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

Alan Spier scrubs the brickwork...note the top &

 bottom difference on the tower

 

Dave Eastman "cuts-in" with a primer coat in advance of the interior repainting phase

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

Dave Eastman "cuts-in" with a primer coat in advance of the interior repainting phase

 

 

 

Alan Spier applies a primer coat to the metalwork inside the light tower

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

Alan Spier applies a primer coat to the metalwork inside

the light tower

 

 

Jim Leslie uses an

all-saw to repair the mortar joints along a window's headers

 and sills

Jim Leslie uses an all-saw to repair the mortar joints along a window's headers and sills

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

 

 

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

Alan Spier uses a chipping gun to

 remove mortar from a deteriorated control joint where the tower's brickwork meets the granite gallery

 

 

Dave Eastman works on removing deteriorated mortar from the east or bay side foundation

 base of the tower

Dave Eastman works on removing deteriorated mortar from the east or bay side foundation base of the tower

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

 

 

Jake Johnson works on repairing the east or bay side foundation base of the tower

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.    

 

Jake Johnson works on repairing the east or bay side foundation base

of the tower

 

 

 

Posted: 6/7/2010

 

 

 

 
 

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