December, 2008

This has been the most momentous year at Gull Rock in more than half a century. The lighthouse now boasts a bold and beautiful bright red cedar shingle roof – the same material used on the original roof back in 1867. The privy too now has a shiny red tin roof, also duplicating the original. The able-bodied employees at Robert E. Johnson Contractors out of Lake Linden, Michigan persevered through some trying weather and logistical conditions to get the roofing work done on time, and we are grateful for their skilled and conscientious craftsmanship. We have received much positive feedback from local mariners about the new restoration work at Gull Rock, and we could not have gotten the job done without the broad spectrum of support that we have received over the years. Once again we would like to thank the National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Trust for Architectural Easements, the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program, and scores of private citizens who contributed to our roof restoration effort. We also received invaluable support and guidance from officials at the Keweenaw National Historical Park in Calumet and staffers from Isle Royale National Park in Houghton. To view before-and-after photos of our roof work, please re-visit our website, www.gullrocklightkeepers.org.

While the exterior restoration is certainly the most visible work at Gull Rock, truly extraordinary work took place on the interior as well. As the web site photos make clear, Gull Rock has been full of debris for decades. Material from collapsed floors, walls, ceilings and roofs, has stood knee-deep or even hip-deep throughout much of the lighthouse. But thanks to a small army of volunteers this summer—and to the surprise of many—we successfully managed to remove all the debris from the lighthouse this year and had it transported to a regional landfill. This was tough, gritty work, and I would like to thank some of our key volunteers, including Jeff Schultenover, Christine Williams, Joe Kaplan, Mark Hovel, Jeremiah Mason, Matt Leisch, Roger Welsh, Eva Newman, Bob Heverly, Londa Heverly, and Sandi Siegmeier, for all of their invaluable assistance with the interior clean up work. We literally could not have done it without them.

Now, for the first time, we can begin to seriously consider shifting our focus to restoring the lighthouse interior. We have once again asked the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program for a planning grant so that we can hire an architect to draw up the plans and specs needed to conduct that ambitious work. If that grant comes through, we hope to have an architect visit Gull Rock during the summer of 2009. Then, with any luck, and more generous financial support from people like you, we hope to embark on interior restoration work at the lighthouse during the summer of 2010. We realize that times are tough this year, and like many nonprofits, we expect our tax-deductible donations to decline. It is our hope that many of you will find a way to keep us on your annual donation list, even if it might be to a smaller degree than in years past.

Regardless, I would like to wish you all a happy holiday season in 2008, and thank you once again for your generous assistance in preserving one of the crown jewels on the Lake Superior.

Best wishes,

Peter Annin
Executive Director

 



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