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Local lighthouse has more than one keeper nowadays
On the edge of Kitsap County sits a lighthouse that has been lovingly restored.
Although it is the sound of the waves and the tickle of saltwater that keeps the lighthouse the most company, folks who know Point No Point Lighthouse and Park exists love to talk about it and share their passion with others.
“I’m amazed at the people that say, ‘We have a lighthouse in our county?’, ” said Libby Anderson, school outreach coordinator and docent volunteer coordinator for Point No Point.
Despite being a hidden gem, the lighthouse has had some special visitors over the last few years, including Chad Kaiser who worked on restoring the 1879 lighthouse to its former glory.
On Aug. 8, Kaiser visited Kitsap Historical Society & Museum (KCHS) as part of the Speaker Series the museum hosts several times a year to educate the public about a variety of historical topics.
Kaiser worked as the U.S. Lighthouse Society project manager of a restoration project that was completed in 2012 on the property. He shared before-and-after photos of the restoration with a group of about 20 people, mostly members of the museum.
With National Lighthouse Day marking the calendar on Aug. 7, the program seemed to be a perfect fit for the museum’s Speaker Series and kept the audience captivated for an hour.
As KCHS’s program coordinator, Megan Bradley knows Kaiser as a personal friend and thought he would be a good fit for the program she established just last year.
“Everybody’s been really nice and likes to share what they know,” Bradley said of guest speakers. Bradley is hoping the series will continue to grow and bring in members as well as non-members who haven’t seen the museum before.
Bradley said the goal of the series is to allow people to “expand their interests and grow in their history knowledge.”
The program coordinator is also familiar with the lighthouse and said she enjoys going to visit it, especially with the restoration that has taken place.
“Now it’s just a beautiful little gem,” she said. “To get inside of one … it’s a really fun experience.”
The U.S. Lighthouse Society worked on restoring the lighthouse “to a period of significance,” which happened to be 1938, Kaiser said. After analyzing dozens of photos from the era, the group worked to closely match everything from paint colors to landscape to ensure authenticity of restoring it to the 30s look, he said.
Restorations included relocating the historic marker to inside the building, repainting the outside of the building and removing a breaker box so children couldn’t easily access it as they could before the restoration. Other repairs included fixing the oil house, fixing leaky roofs and replacing broken doors that allowed wind and rain to get inside the buildings.
One of the ways the group worked to replace the modern details with the historic details was by replacing the lighthouse entrance doors. The society was contacted by a local family who had the original doors from the 1900s.
The doors were donated back to the lighthouse, but were “too far gone” to be used in the place of the old doors, Kaiser said. Kaiser took the doors to a professional woodworker who replicated the doors and used some of the original hardware from the first doors.
“It’s these little details that make a difference in the project,” he said. “We’re trying to restore as many historical details as we could.”
To quickly move through restoration, the society worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard on repairs like the rooftop of the lighthouse. The Coast Guard also purchased the shingles for the lighthouse from a Canadian company which allowed the society to not dip too deeply into its grant money. According to Kaiser, two weeks after the group received the shingles, the Canadian company “burned to the ground” which made it difficult to get additional supplies like spare shingles.
Although the society and Coast Guard accomplished several goals during the restoration, the lighthouse is still in need of a lot of work that couldn’t be covered by grants and donations, Kaiser reminded the audience. With a project cost estimated between $100,000 to $110,000, Kaiser said he is proud of what was accomplished compared to some other lighthouse restoration projects he’s seen before.
“This is a restoration, not the restoration,” he emphasized. “This building is over a century old. It never ends. I am very proud of what we did out there.”
Anderson is also grateful for the work that’s been done to the lighthouse where she works. She hopes people will come visit and tour the restored lighthouse. When she works daily with school children who end up bringing their parents out to the lighthouse, she is reminded of the uniqueness of the place where she works.
“It’s like we got a shiny new penny,” she said. “We have to keep these historic buildings.”
After the speaking engagement, some attendees asked Kaiser questions that weren’t answered during his presentation. Others chatted amongst themselves about how they were grateful to hear him speak about the project even though it’s been more than a year since Kaiser was on site working.
“I thought he was very interesting and knowledgable,” said Carolyn McClurkan, attendee and the museum’s archivist. “He knew his subject very well. It’s a worthwhile project.”
The next Speaker Series event will be on Nov. 14 with Marion Hersey, who works on restoring Kitsap County’s memorials. Hersey will talk about refurbishing and documenting markers, plaques, structures and other items that commemorate people and events dating back to the Civil War.
The event will start with a 6:30 p.m. reception, and costs $20 for non-KCHS members and $10 for KCHS members.
Directions to Point No Point: 9009 Point No Point Rd NE, Hansville
Turn North (left) at the intersection of Hansville Road and Highway 104. Travel eight miles to the intersection of Hansville Road and Point No Point Road. Turn right onto Point No Point and travel to the road end into the park entrance.