Main deck of the lighthouse to be open Saturday

MANISTEE — Manistee’s North Pierhead Lighthouse will be open this weekend.

Because of safety concerns, only the main deck will be available for inspections from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday. Some information on the history of Manistee’s lighthouses will be available.

The main deck of the Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse will be open from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday. Steve Harold, lighthouse coordinator will be present to answer any questions. (Courtesy photo)

In 2017, approximately $170,000 was spent on the initial restoration when the exterior was painted to make it relatively watertight and $25,000 worth of steel was replaced. There remains about $145,000 worth of work to be completed. This includes deck repair (there are four), painting, safety equipment, door restoration and a new lantern safety rail.

It is now time to move forward to the next phase of the restoration project.

“A considerable amount of time was spent this spring on a National Park grant for deck restoration. After nearly a week’s work was completed on the National Park grant we were told we had to buy flood insurance because the Park Service wanted to protect their investment,” said Steve Harold, of the Manistee County Historical Museum. “This was after the lighthouse has already survived 90 years on Lake Michigan and the cost of flood insurance negated the value of the grant.”

The City of Manistee owns the lighthouse, however the Manistee County Historical Museum signed a concession agreement with the city in 2011 to maintain, operate and raise funds for the lighthouse.

Harold said the museum is now looking at a State of Michigan 2020 grant program for ongoing restoration with funds available from lighthouse license plate sales.

“A larger amount of funds may be available in this case and it is also true that the more funds we can put in ourselves, the larger amount of grant funds for which we can qualify,” he said. “We currently have about $10,000 on hand but restoration work will go faster if we can raise another $10,000 this year. That amount would make it possible for the interior to be made ready for painting in the next phase of work.

“We will then only have replacement of the wood trim, restoration of two portholes, restoration of two doors, and restoration of the safety rails around the lantern deck.”

Over the next several years the museum will be planning and designing interpretive panels for the elevated walkway (also called the catwalk), the lighthouse and harbor it overlooks. Finally, the museum will work to install a new electrical system as the former service has disappeared due to circumstances beyond their control.

“We would once again like to thank everyone who has contributed to the Lighthouse Restoration Project, especially those who generously contributed in recent years,” said Harold.

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