One of Gull Rock's most striking features in recent decades has been a series of large holes that existed in floors throughout the building. These gaping holes have been a constant reminder of just how deteriorated the lighthouse had become. The holes date back to long before Gull Rock Lightkeepers took over the property. In the late 1970s and early 1980s a piano-sized hole existed in the roof, which led to significant interior rot. Eventually sections of the second floor collapsed onto the first floor, which in turn collapsed into the cellar. The Coast Guard replaced the roof in the 1980s, and we replaced the roof again in 2008. But the floor holes remained a defining negative legacy on the Rock.
But this year changed all that. In July a crew from Robert E. Johnson Contracting of Lake Linden, MI spent two weeks on Gull Rock replacing sub-floors in the keeper's dwelling. For the first time in decades the lighthouse is graced with solid new flooring throughout the building. This is a major transformative milestone in the restoration of Gull Rock. With a solid roof overhead, and sturdy floors underfoot (not to mention the volunteer-built temporary windows that arrived last year) the building finally feels habitable again. It's quite something to stand in the formerly floorless kitchen and feel a sweet Lake Superior breeze blowing through windows that had been boarded up as long as anyone can remember. The project resulted in a very nice front-page story in Houghton's Daily Mining Gazette, which you can read at this link: www.mininggazette.com/page/content.detail/id/526884.html. We hope to have a video about the floor work on our website soon.
We had two major sources of funding for this year's remarkable work. Two-thirds of the money came from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP), which gave us a $24,000 grant. Friends and supporters of Gull Rock (like you) donated the rest. I should emphasize that it was these private tax-deductible donations that allowed us to qualify for the state matching funds. MLAP only gives grants to lighthouses that can raise one-third of the necessary restoration money on their own first. So private donations are crucial. The MLAP grant allowed us to leverage every donated dollar into two additional dollars from the state.
So thank you once again for your generous support of Gull Rock. Quite literally, we could not do our restoration work without you. As this year comes to a close, we hope that you will continue to keep Gull Rock in mind for a tax-deductible year-end gift. Thanks to you, we've accomplished great things at this special lighthouse in a relatively short period of time. With your continued support we look forward to many more successful milestones in the future.
Peter AnninExecutive Director
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