Assateague Lighthouse Restoration
10/21/2013 - Renovations are complete and the Lighthouse is now open to the public! You can climb the lighthouse Friday - Monday from 9am to 2:30pm, until the end of October. Cost is $5.00 for Adults and $3.00 for Children 17 and under The Grand Re-Opening will be rescheduled. You can inquire at the Refuge Visitor Center or call the CNHA office at (757) 336-3696 for information regarding lighthouse tours.
9/11/2013 - The $1.5 million restoration of the Assateague lighthouse is nearing completion. A grand reopening celebration is being planned for Saturday, Oct. 5th, which will mark the beginning of the 147th year the structure has been in service. The iconic red-and-white, 142-foot-tall lighthouse on the Virginia portion of Assateague Island has been closed to refuge visitors this summer due to the renovations.
The lighthouse was completed in 1867 and had six keepers before its lens was replaced with an electric beacon in 1933. The original Fresnel lens of the historic lighthouse was preserved and is housed at the nearby Museum of Chincoteague Island. The U.S. Coast Guard transferred ownership of the lighthouse to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004.
The restoration project involved replacing the lower gallery deck, removing and replacing glass, restoring the widow's walk and painting the exterior. The last time the lighthouse was painted was in 1994.
The Assateague lighthouse still serves mariners as an aid to navigation, although it now stands more than a mile inland and almost 5 miles north of Chincoteague Inlet due to accretion at the southern end of Assateague Island.
A grand re-opening celebration will be held Saturday, October 5th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Lighthouse grounds. The reopening celebration will include free refreshments, songs and music, children’s activities, historical displays and free Lighthouse climbs. Click here for more information about the planned events.
2/17/2013 - On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, the final phase of restoration on the historic Assateague Lighthouse began. A 6 foot tall chain link fence now surrounds the historic Assateague Island Lighthouse. The final phase of restoration will include a much needed fresh coat of paint! Unfortunately the interior of the historic structure will not be accessible for about four or five months. That means the next available opportunity to climb to the top will occur sometime in June, if everything goes according to plan.
The chain link fence and other physical barriers have been installed to ensure public safety, while restoration work continues. For that same reason, refuge staff members have cordoned off one of the two main walking trails leading to popular destination.
Visitors are still encouraged to make the trek to the historic site, using the one remaining trail access located adjacent to the lighthouse parking area. And, vehicle access for mobility impaired visitors remains unchanged and available.
It could be another half century or more before the Lighthouse is restored again.
Be sure to check back here for photos and project updates.
This article was published by Chincoteague.com on 2/17/2013.