Historic Fresnel lens poses a dilemma

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A 19th century lighthouse lens on display in the Cape Elizabeth, Maine, town office for the last 18 years will soon be moved. The only questions are how far will it go and who will pay for the journey?

The 1,800-pound Fresnel lens, considered “second order” by its size and focal length, was made in Paris in 1874 and, for many years, it graced the east tower at Two Lights.

“At one time, it had the highest candle-watt power on the entire eastern seaboard, greater than Portland Head Light,” councilor Jessica Sullivan told KeepMECurrent.com.

On April 11, the town council voted to turn the light, assessed at $1.5 million, over to the Coast Guard. However, the Coast Guard curator in Washington, D.C., said Tuesday that if her office comes and get the lens as requested, the town will still have to cover the cost of packing and moving the historic artifact.

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