Volunteers from ROALPS routinely make trips to the lighthouse during the summer months in order to stabilize, restore, and maintain the structure. Members of the organization also make trips to government archives in order to retrieve plans and historic records related to the station’s operation.
During the 2022 work season, 30 volunteers dedicated 1,253 hours over 7 weeks. Lighthouse work centered on finishing several restoration projects, including: the second floor bathroom, plastering the second floor walls, solar power system installation, floor grating installation in the engine room, and crane maintenance. Volunteers also continued restoration of several structures on Barnum and Washington Islands.
During the 2021 work season, 24 returning volunteers dedicated 806 hours over 7 weeks. Lighthouse work centered on finishing restoration projects on the 3rd floor and beginning restoration and preparation of spaces in the 2nd floor bathroom and upper cellar. Volunteer work included framing out the walls and ceiling and installing concrete board and plaster in the 2nd floor bathroom, installing 6 reproduction windows on the 2nd floor, stripping and refinishing existing woodwork, installing reproduction trim and custom steam-bent baseboards, and cleaning and painting several sets of stairs and the decorative cast iron entrance to the lighthouse. Volunteers also continued restoration work at Barnum Island and outreach activities at the Windigo Ranger Station.
During the 2019 work season, 29 volunteers logged 893 hours over six weeks. Volunteers continued painting and plaster work, and removed over 1000lbs of debris from the lighthouse for disposal. Work at the lighthouse focused on the Fourth Floor keepers quarters and the Third Floor kitchen, where volunteers refinished trim, painted walls, and installed flooring. Volunteers also continued restoration work at Barnum Island and outreach activities at the Windigo Ranger Station.
During the 2018 work season, 26 volunteers logged 1,017 hours over six weeks. Volunteers moved over 1,500 lbs of supplies from Barnum Island to Rock of Ages Lighthouse for summer restoration. They continued painting and plaster work, applying over 800lbs (dry weight) of plaster. Work crews installed trim, flooring, and windows in the lighthouse. Volunteers also continued restoration work at Barnum Island and outreach activities at the Windigo Ranger Station.
During the 2017 work season, Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society volunteers helped the organization reach several new milestones. 29 different individuals volunteered their time to the project donating a total of 650 hours. Taking numerous trips to the lighthouse, they completed restoration of a full room in the lighthouse, the 4th floor keepers quarters, and its adjacent stairwells. 4 reproduction windows were installed, walls were plastered and painted, stairs were painted, and the wood floor was installed and sealed. 4 beds were also placed on site in addition to the overnight supplies already in place to accommodate up to 4 volunteers comfortably and safely during overnight stays when they are necessary.
In 2016, Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society volunteers made 7 trips to the lighthouse. Starting at the end of July and continuing through August, crew members swept walls, floors, and stairs, of entire tower. They also wire brushed the stairs from engine room all the way up to Service Room. Finally they also removed failed top finish layer plaster in stairwells above and below 4th floor keepers quarters, to expose intact base layer of plaster in excellent condition.
In 2015, volunteers from the Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society made three work trips to the lighthouse, in July, August, and September. During these trips, members of the society conducted demolition work on the 2nd floor of the lighthouse, removing structures that had been built by the Coast Guard in the 1970s.
Read our final report for the September 2015 trip.
From August 11 to 17 2014 members of the ROA Preservation Society traveled to Isle Royale National Park to conduct cleaning, documentation, and stabilization of structures at the Rock of Ages Lighthouse. Rangers from Windigo station ferried us to the lighthouse on two occasions, August 13 and August 14. These trips also allowed us to stage tools and overnight gear for future trips.
Cleaning, Documentation, and Stabilization of structures at the Rock of Ages Lighthouse
Isle Royale National Park, Rock of Ages Lighthouse
August 11-17, 2014
ROA Preservation Society members visited the lighthouse on August 13 and 14. During these trips we successfully documented the structural conditions at the lighthouse. We surveyed every level of the facility and captured digital images of structural issues. Based on this survey we also stabilized particularly problematic areas of the lighthouse and conducted basic cleaning.
From August 7 to August 9 2014 a member of the ROA Preservation Society visited the Cartography and Engineering section of the National Archives (NARA) in College Park, Maryland to identify and digitize the plans and drawings associated with the lighthouse. These documents are housed in Records Group 26 of the Coast Guard’s Civil Engineering Unit.
The ROA Preservation Society researcher identified and digitized a total of 123 drawings that date from the lighthouse’s construction in 1907 through its automation in the 1970s. These blueprints present a unique mix of original plans for the station and subsequent modifications, including sketches of the layout of each level in the station before the Coast Guard mothballed the station and prepared it for automated operation.
The ROA Preservation Society presented a bound copy of the drawings to the Rangers at Isle Royale on 11 August 2014. These drawings will be used as the basis for approving future restoration work at the lighthouse.