Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse Preservation Society


Preservation Progress


We received notification that our MLAP grant application has been successful.  We will be receiving the funds necessary to rehabilitate the roof on the fog signal building back to the Victorian metal shingles that were present when the building was constructed in 1906.  Not too soon either!  The current condition of the asphalt shingles is so badly deteriorated that there appears to be only the black felt remaining.  All of reviews are completed, and the contract is signed.  The successful bidder is Meridian Contracting Services, of Alpena.  We will add updated photos as the project moves along.  We will need to be completed by August 31, 2018.  Hopefully the weather will be cooperative this summer.


new tractor The 

The new tractor has arrived!

Hopefully there will be lots of volunteers lining up to take a turn cutting the grass now that we have a new garden tractor.  For the first time in TBIPS's history  we were able to purchase a new garden tractor.  The old Wheel Horse has served us well, just like it need the Detroit Metro Park System for many years, but the expected repair cost did not make sense.  We have been fortunate to have support from Alpena Charter Township, and several successful fundraisers this year that made this new equipment possible.



Preservation Progress

In 2009 efforts began to restore the bedroom on the northwest corner of the Keeper's Quarters back to the 1955 condition.  TBIPS was fortunate to have photographs of that room when it was first occupied after the 1955 remodel, since it was occupied by Board member Paul Rehkopf.  The Rehkopf family was very generous in donating many items for the display that was created in the closet area.  The museum style display features one section devoted to the Life-Saving era, one to the Coast Guard era, and one for the personal affects from Mr. Rehkopf.  This project was a great primer for the remainder of the Keeper's Quarters, now we have some experience in what items visitors find interesting and this will help immensely as we begin the interpretation of this historic site




Just when we were all beginning to think we would never get the tower repaired before it tumbled over - we did it!

It looks beautiful. Cusack Masonry Restoration began deploying men and equipment on July 14, 2004, and by August 16th their work was complete.

It is such a fulfilling experience to visit the island and see the tower in pristine condition for the first time in many years. The keeper's dwelling and copper chimney cap are quite a sight as well. The final engineering site visit went well, and on September 1st we had the final site inspection from the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, and received a thumbs up!

Many people worked hard for more than three years on various fund raising efforts. Funds came from Community Foundation of Northeast Michigan, Wal-Mart, and the Besser Foundation, as well as from private donations and sales of Steve Tongue's book "Lanterns and Lifeboats."

Again, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Herb Palmer for his generous use of his boat to transport people and equipment during the grant work, and for our regular work trips.

Restoring the tower was a huge undertaking, and we all take great pride in the accomplishment.


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Last modified: June 2017