HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Huntington Lighthouse, a treasure in our backyard, is on the National Register of Historic Places and guides mariners from Connecticut to Long Island.
But as CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports, the attempt to rescue historic landmark has hit a snag.
The Huntington Lighthouse, just one week shy her 105th birthday, needs critical restoration.
“It looks like this magnificent little castle out in the bay,” said Pamela Setchell, of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society.
It’s a trusted navigational aid to mariners, and its architecture is one of a kind.
The Coast Guard was prepared to take care of the crumbling structure with a wrecking ball and replace her will a steel stanchion.
Local citizens came forward to form the first private group in the country to take over and restore an offshore lighthouse.
“We felt so strongly that I steel tower should not replace this beautiful lighthouse,” Huntington Bay homeowner Pamela Whyte said.
“We are removing the stones that have been in place for over 100 years,” contractor Frank Scobbo added.
But the fix hit a bump in the road, unearthing a decaying foundation with more damage that anticipated.
The state kicked in money and volunteers are stepping forward, but more donations are need.
Former New York State Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro formed a fundraising group, called the Beacon Society, to save what is left.
“Long Island has more shoreline, more coastline than the state of California,” she said.
Preserving the lighthouse is about the future.
“It is the logo for the Town of Huntington, the school district, the chamber of commerce, for endless businesses. It means the world not just to me but to the residents,” Setchell said.
If the fundraising comes through, the year-long construction could be completed by Labor Day – in time for the annual Lighthouse Music Fest, with 1,500 boats converging on the bay. Should the group meet its goal, bands will perform on top of the iconic lighthouse. Below, boaters will break out the champagne.
Long Island Sound weather can change in a heartbeat. The lighthouse keeps boaters from running aground on sand or rocks.
To learn more about how you can help, click here.