Friday, May 6, 2011

Goat Island Light Goes Back In Time: Complete Historic Renovation Underway

Tom Bradbury, Executive Director of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, announced on April 28 that contracts have been signed for the restoration of the Goat Island Light Station in Cape Porpoise, which began construction on May 2.
This is the culmination of 5 years of planning, permitting, negotiating and fund raising by Mike Weston and Scott Dombrowski, the co-project managers.
The restoration work, awarded to Bartlett Builders of Kennebunkport via a competitive bidding process, will include the rebuilding of the bell tower that was torn down in 1962, the covered walkway from the keeper’s quarters to the light tower damaged by the blizzard of 1978 and the original fuel storage building. The cost of this phase of the restoration will be in the neighborhood of $380,000.
The period chosen for the restoration is the decade of the 1950s. Significant photographic evidence exists for that period and that is the period when all of the structures scheduled to be rebuilt were in place and water and electricity were available.
The process to secure the final approvals for construction included work to obtain permits from the DEP, Army Corps of Engineers, Inland Fish and Wildlife, Indian Tribes of Maine, the Town of Kennebunkport and the Maine Historical Preservation Society. Also required was a change to the Kennebunkport Land Use Ordinance for the island to be designated a Contract Zone and the voters of Kennebunkport overwhelmingly approved that change 2 years ago.
Because of the historical nature of the Goat Island Light Station, two archaeological digs were required to assure that no buried artifacts would be destroyed during the rebuilding phase. During this process, some of the original foundations and pilings were uncovered allowing rebuilding in more historically accurate locations. Crane and Morrison completed the dig and analysis that provided the Trust with a treasure trove of historical documentation. Goat Island Light was first lit on August 15, 1833 so historical accuracy would have been difficult to assure without the results from the dig.
Harvey Wells, a Kennebunk architect, first provided a scale model of the project and volunteered hundreds of hours to complete it. Mr. Wells was chosen to provide all of the detailed plans for the rebuilding and restoration based on the photographic evidence and old historical articles to assure historical accuracy. Dustin Roma, an engineer with Sebago Technics of Westbrook, completed all of the site work, permit applications and technical detail. Engineering expertise for the foundations and structural specifications were provided by Group Design of Saco. The bell tower has been designed to withstand high winds and flooding---without compromising the historical integrity of the building exterior.
Construction is scheduled to be completed by September 1 this year with dedication ceremonies to be held shortly after Labor Day.
Coming soon, you can follow the construction by visiting and selecting the Goat Island web-cam that is being installed in the coming days.
Photo caption: Goat Island Light in the 1950s, the period chosen as a model for the restoration. (Courtesy photo)