By Nicholas Grube
Triplicate staff writer
Standing six miles off the Crescent City coastline, the 15-story tall granite St. George Reef Lighthouse stands isolated amid the battering ocean waves, virtually unreachable except by helicopter.
Now one man is trying to bring the lighthouse ashore to the Crescent City Harbor for everyone to enjoy.
Guy Towers, president of the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society, wants to build a museum that showcases St. George Reef Lighthouse and all of Del Norte County's maritime.
"It's going to be one of the key things to draw people into the harbor," Guy Towers said.
Preliminary designs for the museum call for a two-story, 10,000 square-feet circular structure with lots of windows, similar to the St. George Reef Lighthouse. It would stand at the corner of U.S. Hwy. 101 and Citizen's Dock Road.
Fundraising for the proposed St. George Reef museum ¬Ė which Towers estimates will be approximately $600,000 ¬Ė officially began during the Tall-Masted Ships Festival last weekend.
"He is just such a historian, and he wants to preserve all the stories of the fisherman and, of course, St. George Reef Lighthouse," said Towers' wife, Alice. "That's including the fishing industry and the Native American history," she said. "Just everything that's been taking place throughout the years ... plus the lighthouse construction.
"I think it will just be a tremendous resource for education, for children and for tourism. It will just be a big welcome to Crescent City. The building will be so unique, they can't miss it."
The floor of the museum would include a compass rose, used for navigation, and in the center of the building the old St. George Reef lantern room will be reconstructed, Guy Towers said.
The museum is already included in the harbor's master plan, even though there are some details that still need to be worked out.
"We have a building that's pretty much 80 percent designed," Guy said. An engineer will be putting together construction plans in the near future. He still needs to secure building permits for the project after the engineer has completed the designs.
Harbormaster Richard Young said there are still a lot of details to be worked out, such as a lease agreement for the land, but that he is confident the project will come to fruition.
"These things take time, but it's a really neat project," he said, one that will be beneficial to the harbor and to Crescent City. "We think it's going to be a spectacular building. It's really going to be a magnet for the local community."
It will serve as an attraction that will get people to pull over and stop in the harbor, he said, and that hopefully will get visitors to experience the rest of the community.
"It'll be an opportunity for people to stop here (in Crescent City)," Young said. "It will be just about the most spectacular building between San Francisco and Portland on 101."