PORT TOWNSEND — In a lucky break between periods of rainfall, the Point Wilson Light Station volunteers of the U.S. Lighthouse Society welcomed about 100 people during a kickoff and open house event.
The Tuesday afternoon event had a welcoming ceremony, during which officials with the Lighthouse Society explained how far they’ve come since they leased the lighthouse in 2019, the next steps for the renovation and the fundraising goals needed for them, followed by tours of the various facilities on the campus.
The Point Wilson Lighthouse is the only one managed by the U.S. Lighthouse Society on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Officials were excited about the turnout and the fact the rain stopped about 10 minutes before the ceremony began, said Dick Richardson, volunteer coordinator.
“We think this was a good introduction for the Port Townsend community to see what their lighthouse is,” Richardson said. “We’re glad for the support.
“We hope the community will show support with financial and in-kind contribution.”
In addition to the Lighthouse Society volunteers, Richardson appreciated members of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe for sharing “The Blackfish Story” and singing their “We Sing Strong” song in blessing, as well as the support and attendance from local government officials such as Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro and Kate Dean, the chair of the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners.
“I think it was really important to have the support of the native people,” Richardson said.
Since the group took over the care of the lighthouse in 2019, it has finished restoring the chief’s house and has been offering it as a vacation rental, and it has updated the septic, water and electric systems on the property, said Mike Lippert, volunteer and master of ceremonies during Tuesday’s event.
The volunteers are moving into phase 2 of their plans for renovations, which include replacing the roof of the keepers’ dwelling, which is being done by HOPE Roofing of Port Townsend, and renovating the duplex to be a vacation rental to help generate income, as well as renovating and restoring the lighthouse and other buildings on the property, Lippert said.
It’s estimated that the total cost of the phases 2 and 3 — designing and implementing interactive interpretive signage throughout the property and education plans for tours — will cost about $1 million. The society has raised about $100,000 so far, Lippert said.
The U.S. Lighthouse Society is a nationwide organization specializing in education about lighthouses and restoration and maintenance of lighthouses nationwide. It was established in 1983 in San Francisco, and its headquarters relocated in 2008 to Point No Point, where it has been since.
The society currently holds four additional lighthouses in Washington: Point No Point in Kitsap County, Browns Point Lighthouse in Pierce County, Lime Kiln Lighthouse in Pierce County and Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Pacific County.
More information on the Lighthouse Society can be found here.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]