Restored Lake Erie lighthouse back to waterfront

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PORT CLINTON (AP) -- A restored 1896 Lake Erie lighthouse is headed back to the waterfront after more than 60 years away, thanks to volunteers who restored the 26 foot-tall wooden structure.

The lighthouse stood on the Portage River's west pier in Port Clinton until 1952, when it was removed and taken to a local marina.

Volunteers spent the last couple years replacing rotten boards in the lighthouse, installing a new copper roof and repainting the interior steps and tower, the Toledo Blade reported Monday (http://bit.ly/TY9YTx).

The Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy hopes to install the lighthouse on the north side of Derby Pond at Water Works Park by late summer or early fall.

"These old breakwater lights are almost nonexistent," said Rich Norgard, conservancy president. "The old, wooden lights either burned or just rotted away. . We are just very fortunate."

The structure, which appears on Port Clinton's city seal, is the Lake Erie community's second lighthouse. An 1833-vintage stone lighthouse was demolished a few years after the wooden one was built.

In 1952, a local marina owner was hired to remove the lighthouse from the pier, and it was taken to what is now Brands' Marina.

The lighthouse's owner, Darrell Brand, plans to give it to the conservancy, which will enter into an agreement with the city to place it along the waterfront, Norgard said.

Visitors frequently sought out the lighthouse while it was on marina property.

"It's amazing how many people are running around this country looking for lighthouses," said Brand, who wanted the lighthouse in a publicly accessible spot near the water.

Volunteers saved everything they could as they paid attention to historic details.

Donations funded the work, estimated at $40,000 to $50,000, and the conservancy is accepting money to help with maintenance and other needs, Norgard said.

The conservancy plans to build a foundation at the waterfront, where the lighthouse will sit on four piers.

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Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/

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