Posted by: mlapgrants | August 11, 2009

Denise and I traveled to Northport on Tuesday, August 4th for the pre-work site visit for the 2009 MLAP lighthouse grant for the 1867 lighthouse Historic Structures Report (HSR) and the wood shingle roof replacement on the Carpenter’s Shop.  We started out about 8 in the morning on August 5th from the Northport marina.  The eight passengers on the boat included Anna Sylvester (DNR), Lisa Gamero (DNR), Phil von Voigtlander (FILA), John McKinney (FILA), George Carpenter (FILA), Cathy Allchin (FILA), Denise Sachau, and myself.

Our thanks to Captain Phil for getting us out to the island and back safely over rough seas and with some mechanical issues.  It was all worth it to see this incredible light station.

After lunch, we had a complete tour of the light station structures.  Time on the island flew by and before we knew it we had to board the boat for the trip back.  For the most part, the structures are in good condition and together make for a fairly complete complex.

The primary reason for our visit was to look at two structures where we will be funding work through a grant.

1867 Lighthouse

Overall, the 1867 lighthouse appears to be in good condition, with the exception of the rear, lean-to addition.  The rear lean-to is severely deteriorated and the roof is completely collapsed.  The walls are starting to pull away from the masonry walls of the lighthouse.  FILA will wait until the HSR is completed on the structure before they do any work to remove or alter this addition.

The majority of the brick masonry and mortar appears to be sound.  There are some small areas of brick spalling, but the spalling appears to be quite severe.  It looks like there is large aggregate existing in the brick units, which may be contributing to the severe spalling.

In several areas around the structure, there is a negative drainage slope.  The FILA representatives said that they have no moisture problems in the buildings or basements primarily due to the well-drained sand.

The interior of the lighthouse is remarkably intact and sound.  There appears to be very little water damage except in the tower.  Some areas of plaster and paint in the tower are severely deteriorated.  A good HSR should be a very useful tool and a help to the organization in planning their work and fundraising.

 Carpenter’s Shop Roof

 The Carpenter’s Shop roof was not readily visible due to overgrowth immediately surrounding the structure.  However, it was clearly evident even from a distance that the roof is deteriorated to the point that it does need to be replaced.  Some areas on the south side are missing the wood shingles and have been patched.  Some replacement shingles have already been purchased and are being stored in the building.  Otherwise, it’s a very nice little structure and in good shape.  

After we arrived back in Northport, the FILA volunteers had organized a picnic in the pavilion at the park.  It was great to meet many more of the FILA volunteers.  Our thanks to George, Phil, Cathy, and John for the day out on the island, and all the other volunteers for the food and conversation.

Bryan Lijewski


  1. Many more photographs and the history of the island can be found on the Fox Island Lighthouse Association (FILA) web site at

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