The Pt. Pinos Lighthouse restoration project recently got a $20,000 boost from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation in the form of a grant. The Monterey Peninsula Foundation hosts the AT&T Pro-Am, which opens next week and the proceeds of which go to charities. The Heritage Society itself, through fund-raising activities, sales in the Lighthouse gift shop and “door” donations, donated $4,000 recently.
Heritage Society vice president Dennis Tarmina is one of those who has devoted countless hours to the restoration project. There are 24 docents and about 12 workers who volunteer regularly, including two new grant writers, Teri Marshall and Rob Rapp.
Currently, Tarmina says, volunteers are working on reconstructing the outbuildings which existed in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s on the Lighthouse grounds. They will be replicated on the outside, but will actually house ADA compliant bathrooms.
Other ADA-compliant improvements are scheduled, too. $17,000 will be used for ADA parking improvements, a walkway and fence. There will also be an oval fence that will go around the outside of the Lighthouse.
Tarmina is justly proud that no general fund monies have been used so far in the restoration project. The group obtained a portion of the Jeanette McIndoo Trust fund which has enabled them to make emergency repairs to the leaking chimney as well as other repairs. The chimneys, said Tarmina, “were the source of a lot of the water intrusion.” Chimney caps will be added to prevent further problems.
Repairs to the light itself have been largely carried out by Lowell Northup, Tarmina says.
The Lighthouse, valued at $1 million, was deeded to the City by the Coast Guard, which maintains ownership of the unique 1853 Fresnel lens that still flashes in the night as it has since 1855, making Pt. Pinos the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast.
The Heritage Society is producing a DVD tour and history and is archiving lighthouse data. The DVD will eventually be on sale in the proposed Lighthouse gift shop, which is currently awaiting ARB and Coastal Commission approval, an extremely slow process. There will be a restoration of an “oil house” which used to be on the property. The “oil house,” said Tarmina, once housed whale oil, then lard oil, then kerosene. It was situated away from the lighthouse for safety reasons. Today, the Lighthouse runs on electricity.
Tarmina looks forward to the day when weddings, memorials, and other ceremonies can be hosted at the Lighthouse and can help the historic site earn its own way. That will go into full swing when the ADA improvements are complete and the bathrooms are installed. Until then, there are a few intrepid souls who hold events there, but the beautiful grounds will likely see many more visitors when repairs and improvements are made.
The Heritage Society and volunteers have set a target of fall, 2012. They’ll be making an annual report to the City Council on Feb. 15, 2012.