The New London Maritime Society announced that full scaffolding started going up on the New London Harbor Pequot Light on May 31 – and the lighthouse restoration has begun.
Phase One restoration: cleaning, re-pointing and repainting of the exterior of the historic 1801 lighthouse, is expected to take from six to eight weeks.
The lighthouse site will remain closed to visitors until the work is completed and the scaffolding removed.
New London Maritime Society, owners of the lighthouse since 2010, began fundraising for the project in June, 2013 with the campaign Be Part of Something BIG, which brought in about $100,000.
This spring, the society launched a special appeal in honor of NLMS past-president Ben Martin, and with that New London Maritime Society reached its initial fund-raising goal of $150,000. NLMS currently is trying to raise an additional $38,000 to complete several added parts of the project: construction of a masonry walkway on the ledge surrounding the lighthouse, and re-plastering the lookout landing inside the lighthouse. Located just beneath the lantern area, the lookout landing walls exhibit some of the most-severe cracking in the entire structure.
New London Harbor Light is a beloved local landmark. The first 64-foot stone tower with a wooden lantern was established at the 'harbour's mouth' in 1760 under King George III; the 2nd and current 89-foot brownstone and brick tower was constructed in 1801 by local builder Abisha Woodward. In 2010, New London Maritime Society took ownership of the beacon from the federal government through the Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.
Last summer, New London Harbor Light — the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Long Island Sound — represented the state of Connecticut in the US Postal Service's Lighthouses of New England series of Forever stamps.