Keeper’s House Restoration
Our long term goal is for the complete restoration of Wood Island Lighthouse, so that current and future generations may enjoy the beauty of the location and the history of its past. Restoration of the interior of the Keeper’s House will be the most expensive part of the restoration process. Years of vacancy, weathering, vandalism and neglect have taken a toll on the Keeper’s house.
When FOWIL begain its stewardship of the lighthouse, painting and repair projects were periodically held to prevent the further deterioration of the house.
Summer 2011, witnessed the largest FOWIL restoration effort to date as the exterior of the Keeper’s house was restored. This $200,000 project restored the exterior of the Keeper’s house back to it’s 1906 design. Jim Leslie and his team performed the restoration work. This included removing the enclosed porch and rebuilding the porch to the open air design of 1906. Foundation work, weatherizing, replacing the chimneys from the roof line up, and replacement of some of the windows took place. New less obtrusive security screens replaced the outdated cages that previously enclosed the windows. Savings gained by FOWIL volunteers,who helped handle removing construction debris from the island by way of Lightrunner, also allowed the roof of the connector to the lighthouse to be replaced at the same time. This large and successful project was a significant step forward in FOWIL’s goal of completely restoring the lighthouse. Photos of the restoration project may be viewed in the media section of this website.
In 2012, almost two dozen volunteers spent a day working on the interior of the Keeper’s house removing wall and ceiling covers that were post 1906. The efforts allowed FOWIL and our architects to find the condition of the 1906 or earlier structures, and began the design process for the interior restoration.
In 2013-2014, FOWIL continues with fundraising efforts to continue with the restoration of the windows as well as restoration of many interior doors for the eventual restoration of the entire interior.
2015 witnessed a flurry of activity as the realization of FOWIL’s efforts took a giant step forward. Due to the generosity of Judy Klement, the restoration of the interior of the Keeper’s House began. Jim Leslie and his crew once again spent much of the summer and fall working hard to restore the interior. Removing old insulation and wall board, repairing horse-hair plaster, installing new plaster and wall-board, repairing door frames, replacing windows and fixing trim, reframing the bathroom, and many other numerous chores took place. FOWIL helped in many ways by rewiring much of the house and helping with the transportation and removal of construction supplies and debris from the island.
The formation of a Furnishing committee took on the task of creating a plan for the outfitting of the Keeper’s House once the construction work is finished. The group conducted a great deal of research to determine what type of 1906 period paint colors, furniture, and appliances would be appropriate for the lighthouse. The committee assembled an inventory of donated items and began purchasing other items that would be needed with the plan of furnishing the house in 2017 once the interior construction is completed. Unfortunately, due to the construction, the house was off limits to our 2016 tour guests and we weren’t able to display our historical displays.
2017 starts off with the replacement of the island sewer system. The interior work also continues into with the resurfacing of floors, rebuilding of the bathroom, cabinetry work in the pantry, and a great deal of painting and finish carpentry that will need to be completed. Once that work is done, a large volunteer effort will take place to transport our furnishings out to the lighthouse. It is our hope that visitors to the the island in 2017 will find a transformed Keeper’s House that will take them back in time to 1906.
We work closely with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and the Coast Guard in our restoration projects. The American Lighthouse Foundation leases the lighthouse from the Coast Guard and the Friends of Wood Island, as a chapter of ALF, raises the money and does the work. The Coast Guard maintains the light and the fog horn.