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Landmark ‘stitched back together’

Repairs at Battery Point Lighthouse have taken the better portion of a year.
Repairs at Battery Point Lighthouse have taken the better portion of a year. Del Norte Triplicate file / Bryant Anderson
After county workers and volunteers spent the better part of a year making repairs at Battery Point Lighthouse, county supervisors will hear about the results.

County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina will take supervisors through the project at the lighthouse from start to finish Tuesday, introducing the partners who helped make those repairs. 

The repairs include replacing windows in the lantern room, adding and painting an outside railing and repairing a crack in the structure’s metal roof, Sarina said. 

“It was stitched back together,” he said, referring to the roof. “You can’t even tell it was cracked.”

County workers and volunteers with the Del Norte County Historical Society also rehabilitated the trail leading from the mainland to the lighthouse, adding new concrete steps and new interpretive signs, Sarina said. Visitors will see signs with information on tide pools, whales, birds and the lighthouse itself, he said.

Supervisors approved a $144,000 contract with Reichterich and Jones Construction, Inc. in January 2012 to renovate the lighthouse. The county funded those repairs with a $100,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy, as well as money from the Historical Society, the California Coastal and Marine Initiative program of Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, and the county itself.

District 2 Supervisor Martha McClure, who is also a member of the Historical Society’s board of directors, said she brought the leaky roof to her colleagues’ attention last year. The Historical Society brought lighthouse specialists in who performed an analysis of what needed to be done, she said.

“It leaked for a long time and we had to figure it out,” McClure said, referring to the lighthouse roof. “It’s been a long-term project. It’s been years in the making.”

The recent renovation project at the lighthouse is the first extensive project the 156-year-old structure has undergone since the ’70s or ’80s, McClure said. Other more recent repairs include a new roof that was put on the main building and accompanying shed about seven years ago, she said. The society also installed new window panes in the main building.

Battery Point Lighthouse is the one of the last keeper-occupied lighthouses on the West Coast, McClure said. And although it is not an official U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse, it is an aid for navigation, she said.

The lighthouse receives 19,000 visitors a year, McClure said, adding the society is booked for lighthouse keepers through 2014. Keepers live in the lighthouse for at least a month, conducting tours and keeping up with the maintenance.

“I am fairly confident that along with the Historical Society and the workers who did the work that we made it good for another 150 years,” McClure said.

The supervisors meet at 10 a.m. at the Flynn Administrative Center at 981 H St., Room 100. Agendas are available at www.co.del-norte.ca.us. Meetings are streamed live at media.co.del-norte.ca.us.

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