The buzz you may have heard recently at the lighthouse was the sound of a buzz saw cutting wood for one of the many improvements planned for Battery Point. As we get ready for the summer visitors, lighthouse staff and volunteers will be doing a major cleanup, disposing of a lot of old, unwanted materials and making the island a lot more inviting.
In addition to dealing with the old, there will be some new improvements that have been needed for a long time.
The shop, or what some people call the boathouse, will get a new floor and general fix-up inside. Discussion is still going on as to how this building should be used. Many suggestions have been presented, but the lighthouse committee and the Historical Society board of directors are looking for the highest and best use for that building.
In addition, the planter boxes and general landscaping will get a face lift with new flowers and plants and general grounds cleanup. We are looking for some new trees that can thrive in the wet and salty environment.
There are also plans to rebuild the white fence that went around the lower terrace. Measurements have been taken and the old fence has been removed. That area used to be a vegetable garden by the lighthouse keepers. We have talked about putting in a watermelon patch, but we are not sure just how well they would grow in this environment.
One of the best ideas on the drawing board came from long time lighthouse volunteer George Pettit. He suggested that we remove the old timbers that used to be the stand for the tall water tower on the west side of the island and have the wood cut into planks and then use those planks to build an observation deck on the existing concrete base. This would make an ideal place for folks to whale-watch or just enjoy one or our wonderful sunsets.
Although the lighthouse is a historical place and should be appreciated as such, there is always room to make a visit to the lighthouse better. When you visit your lighthouse, talk to the keepers about things that you think would make it a better experience. We can't act on every suggestion, but you just never know when a gem of an idea will come along.
At the lighthouse, we could not function without our dedicated volunteers. The work is not hard but does require the ability to communicate the history of the lighthouse and of the Crescent City area with people from all over the world. Working in the gift shop requires those skills that you would find in any store.
The most important characteristic of a lighthouse volunteer is the ability to make the visitors feel good that they came to the lighthouse and leave with new knowledge and the recommendation to their friends that they should visit some time in the future.
If you like people and you like talking about your lighthouse, then consider calling the lighthouse keepers and telling them that you would like to volunteer this summer.
Randy Ansley, the Battery Point Lighthouse keeper, can be reached at email@example.com.