Annual upkeep at the Fire Island Lighthouse, which will oblige some workers to carry all their gear up and down 156 spiral steps, will shut the tower and museum to visitors for about two weeks, starting Monday, officials said.
“Just like past lighthouse keepers who manned Fire Island Lighthouse from 1826 to 1973, preserving and maintaining the 160-year-old present lighthouse takes constant work,” said Dave Griese, executive director of the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, in a statement on Friday.
Both the nature trail and beaches, however, will remain open.
By Feb. 2, workers will restore the tower steps and watch room ladder, as well as floors in the keepers’ quarters museum and gift shop, officials said.
The first of two ladders used to climb from the watch room to the gallery – which leads outside – also will be repaired, said Patti Stanton, administrator of the nonprofit Fire Island Preservation Society.
Lantern oil was stored in the watch room. Its wooden floor was encased in copper – restored last year – to prevent fires caused by spilled fuel or the stove that kept the oil from solidifying in winter, Stanton said.
Signs and a switch to light the beacon and Fresnel lens will be added to displays, Stanton said.
Invented by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel, the lens focuses lantern beams. One side of the lens is flat; the other is ridged, according to the web site Howstuffworks.
“You’ll be able to flip a switch,” said Stanton.