Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society is committed to the restoration and ongoing maintenance of the Huntington Harbor Lighthouse.
THE HUNTINGTON LIGHTHOUSE CELEBRATES 100th ANNIVERSARY
-- Celebrating the Past and Preserving the Future of a Historic Landmark –
Huntington, New York (June 16, 2012). June 16th marks the 100th anniversary of The Huntington Harbor Lighthouse, and seafarers and landlubbers alike will celebrate the occasion with festivities that will highlight its rich history and raise awareness about the restoration work needed to preserve its future.
For residents of Huntington and surrounding communities, the Huntington Lighthouse is a familiar and treasured landmark. Its beacon has safely guided boats into Huntington Harbor for the past century. But many people aren’t aware that this unique Beaux Arts structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, once came close to demolition.
In 1985, The U.S. Coast Guard was prepared to tear down the crumbling structure and replace it with a utilitarian steel lighthouse. That’s when a local group, Save Huntington’s Lighthouse, was formed. Founded by Janis Harrington, the private group was the first in the country to successfully take over and restore an offshore lighthouse.
Since then, the nonprofit organization, now called the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society (HLPS), under the guidance of president Pamela Setchell, has raised funds for restoration work largely from donations and the help of volunteers.
But a significant amount of additional work is necessary to repair the lighthouse base and surrounding granite boulders, known as rip-rap, that have been damaged by erosion, storms, ice in the winter and heavy boat traffic. An additional 650 tons of rip-rap is needed to keep the force of the waves from wearing away at the basic structure, at an estimated cost of $300,000.
The HLPS was recently awarded a $250,000 grant by New York State, but must raise matching funds in order to receive the full amount.
So, to celebrate its past, and preserve its future, the HLPS will host a series of events this summer season. Festivities will kick off with the first ever Huntington Lighthouse Restaurant Week from June 9-16, during which participating restaurants will donate a portion of their proceeds to the HLPS. Bartenders will also create special cocktails for Lighthouse week.
There will be a Lighthouse birthday beach party on Saturday, June 16, at Gold Star Beach, and the community is for refreshments and a cake cutting ceremony (courtesy of Reinwald’s Bakery). The day will culminate in a benefit at the Lighthouse, where guests will enjoy cocktails, music, and a sunset on the harbor.
Of course, no celebration would be complete without the 6th annual Huntington Lighthouse Music Fest, to be held on September 1. It is the only concert in the world held on top of a working lighthouse in the middle of the water and is the largest fundraising event for HLPS. The daylong celebration, which is accessible only by boat, is free to the public and features live performances from bands on the roof of the Lighthouse. This year, there will be evening fireworks that will be visible from various vantage points on land.
Seasonal tours of the Lighthouse are currently underway for anyone who wants to visit and learn more about its historical significance and what they can do to help preservation efforts.
“We’re proud to celebrate the centennial of the Huntington Lighthouse, and we’re fortunate to live in a community that is home to such a unique maritime icon,” said Pamela Setchell, president of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society. “However, we can’t take for granted that it will always be here, and unless we continue to support the preservation efforts, it may not survive another ten years -- and could become just a faint memory. I’m convinced that our residents just won’t let that happen.”
For more information about the Huntington Lighthouse history, anniversary events, tours, or to volunteer, visit www.huntingtonlightouse.org. For information about the Music Fest, visit www.lighthousemusicfest.com.