The Gallery of Arts & Culture, 175 H St., will hold an open house Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. featuring an update on the restoration efforts of St. George Reef Lighthouse, as well as a chance to purchase artwork made from pieces of the 19th-century beacon.
The St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society’s “Legacy Collection” is composed of actual artifacts representing the construction and manning of the lighthouse, built after the coastal steamer Brother Jonathan hit a reef and sank, taking the lives of more than 150 passengers.
Four items in the collection will be highlighted Saturday, some mounted on solid oak or ceramic bases and some made to be worn as jewelry.
Representing the skill and tenacity of the masons who labored for 10 years to construct the 16-story structure six miles at sea, pieces of granite, each unique in shape and sculpted by the elements, are mounted on ceramic bases bearing a brass plaque that reads, “Builders Legacy.” The granite to build the lighthouse came from quarried rock in Humboldt Bay and ferried to the site.
As a tribute to the faithfulness of keepers to ensure that the light was always on and shining brightly, 4- by 6-inch pieces of glass cut from panes used in the lantern room and etched with an image of St. George are mounted on solid oak bases with a brass plaque reading “Legacy of Duty.”
Also from these panes come glass fragments that have been fashioned into necklaces and earrings by local artist Amber Weir.
The most dangerous aspect of duty at the lighthouse was transferring from ships by way of a 90-foot steel boom that reached out on the eastern side of the structure. The unpredictable nature of the ocean made for treacherous work; three lighthouse keepers met their doom while making a transfer on the boom.
It’s only fitting then that part of the collection includes 2- by 6-inch sections of the steel lattice work from a damaged portion of the boom, treated and mounted on an oak base with a brass plaque inscribed with, “Legacy of Courage.”
For more information, visit the society’s website at www.stgeorgereeflighthouse.us, or call Guy Towers at 464-8299.