NORWALK, Conn. When visitors go out to Sheffield Island Lighthouse this summer, they won't be looking at wood rot, according to leaders of the Norwalk Seaport Association . Sharp eyes may even see the repointed stonework, and the tower may be standing a little stronger.
Restoration work funded by a $250,000 grant from the state Department of Economic and Community Development started a little early Wednesday. Seaport volunteers lucked into getting a 74-foot landing craft to transport heavy equipment in bulk, rather than one piece at a time. The Jenniffer Miller docked at Veterans Memorial Park early in the afternoon, and workers from Cenaxo LLC , a construction company, loaded a 45-foot boom lift, trailers, a pickup truck and other items on board.
The work on the lighthouse, which was built in 1868, includes repointing exterior stone and repairing the cast iron chimneys and the lighthouse tower. "It's a big project," said Peter Bondi, chairman of the Sheffield Island Lighthouse Restoration Committee. "It's going to be an exciting project, and it's not going to affect any way, shape or form our visitors out to the island. It should be done by the time we're open for visitors."
Lighthouse keeper Greg Goomrigian said he and Bondi visited other lighthouses in the area. The Sheffield Island Lighthouse is unique in that it hasn't been updated with modern conveniences. "We're very into the fact that we want it to be historically accurate," he said of the restoration.
The pair researched the stone to try to come up with a chemical solution that is accurate for 1868.
"Our lighthouse depicts as it was in 1868," Goomrigian said. "We're trying to redo it so that when the public walks out there they'll be taken back in time."
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