By Connor Beach
The Huntington Lighthouse will open for public tours next weekend, following a two-year restoration project.
“This was $1.1 million and every penny of that went into restoring the lighthouse’s foundation,” said Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society President Pam Setchell.
Setchell said it feels “awesome” to have finally completed the restoration. “We’re all walking around with a smile on our face,” she said, adding that it was strange to see the lighthouse without the construction barge that has been at its base for nearly two years.
Public tours will begin July 15, she said.
The restoration project was not without its challenges. Setchell said money to fund the project was nearly gone while there was much needed work to be done. However, a $145,000 grant from the Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation combined with money donated by local residents kept the restoration going.
“Residents and people that adore this lighthouse donated a lot of money very quickly, and we were able to close the gap and continue the restoration,” Setchell said.
The historic, 1911 Huntington Lighthouse was opened for tours by the Preservation Society in 2003, and remained open to the public until 2016, when renovations began.
The reopening of the lighthouse will be followed by the return of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society’s annual MusicFest fundraiser, which is slated for Sept. 1.
MusicFest draws hundreds of boats into Huntington Bay, where spectators listen to bands perform from the top of the lighthouse. The 2017 edition was canceled due to the ongoing restoration.
“MusicFest is planned to be a spectacular event, and we’re excited about it,” Setchell said.
The Huntington community has “really rallied” behind the restoration project, she said, and the Preservation Society is anxious for the public to see the results of all the work that has been done.
Setchell said, “We are hoping to see a lot of people go out there and see what $1.1 million looks like with the foundation repair.”