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New building with original lighthouse lens opens Friday

Lampist Jim Dunlap uses a feather duster to

Lampist Jim Dunlap uses a feather duster to clean off the multiple lenses which make up the original Fresnel lamp of the Fire Island Lighthouse. ( July 15, 2011) Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

A new building to display the original lens of the Fire Island Lighthouse opens at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the lighthouse site.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building displaying the original 1858 first-order Fresnel lens, the lighthouse tower will be open for tours until 7:30 p.m. at the regular fees. There will be free shuttle bus from from Robert Moses State Park Field 5.

Contractors hired by the National Park Service restored and reassembled the 9,000-pound lens that was removed from the lighthouse in 1933 and displayed at a Philadelphia museum until 2000. It returned to Long Island in 2007 and its 900 pieces were stored until the project began this year.

It cost $360,000 to restore and reassemble the 10-foot-tall brass and glass lens that sits on a 10-foot-tall cast-iron base.

The cedar-covered building erected above the foundation of an 1895 generator building was built by The Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society at a cost of $560,000.

Photo: Lampist Jim Dunlap uses a feather duster to clean off the multiple lenses which make up the original  Fresnel lamp of the Fire Island Lighthouse. ( July 15, 2011)

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