The two-year renovation of the foundation of the Huntington Lighthouse is just about a wrap.
With just some finishing touches remaining, the historic lighthouse is set to reopen to the public this month following the restoration, which came in just shy of $1.1 million.
“There is some fine-tuning, like railings and little things that need to be fixed, some loose ends,” Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society president Pam Setchell said, “But, yeah, we’re ready and psyched.”
Renovations started in July 2016 on the 32-by-32-foot foundation at the junction of Huntington Harbor and Lloyd Harbor. The society owns the 1912 lighthouse that was slated to be torn down in 1985 and replaced with a steel tower. Residents organized efforts to preserve the structure, which in 1988 was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Setchell said lighthouse renovations over the years included a new roof, new flooring and replacing interior stucco walls. But the biggest effort was the restoration of the foundation, she said.
“After 30 some years -- we came so far -- to not do the foundation which holds up everything else we’ve done would have been crazy,” Setchell said. “This was the last piece of the giant puzzle, it was the biggest piece of the puzzle and the most important because if you don’t have a foundation you’ve got nothing.”
Although the foundation project had some setbacks, including the theft of construction equipment, the mission moved on. The project was paid for through a combination of fundraising and grants.
About 350 tons of stone still needs to be put into place around the foundation to reinforce and protect it. The lighthouse also needs new windows and upper structure masonry repairs, but that takes money, Setchell said.
“It’s like a house,” she said. “When you think you’re done, you’re not.”
The completed foundation renovation comes just in time for the summer with public tours of the lighthouse resuming July 15. All tour proceeds go toward the restoration and preservation of the lighthouse.
The annual signature fundraiser, Musicfest, returns Sept. 1. The event, in which musicians perform at the lighthouse for an audience of boaters in the surrounding water, was canceled in 2017 because of repairs. The event attracts more than 1,000 boats carrying 12,000 people, organizers said.
For more information about tours of the lighthouse, go to www.huntingtonlighthouse.org.