More than 2000 Visitors. The keeper's house and the tower were open 5 days a week during the 2014 summer season, with two islanders on staff (and some volunteer assistance). There was a steady stream of visitors, who were able to see three exhibits:
- A photography exhibit titled "Hailing Hockomock" that was prepared by the SI Historical Society, showing images and telling stories about commercial shipping and Coast Guard vessels using Burnt Coat Harbor.
- An elegant wooden model of Novelty, the first steam powered fishing vessel in the East Coast fishing fleet. The model was built by Galen Turner and was on loan, with several photographs and other artifacts, from the Lobster and Marine Museum.
- Art by local artists.
Free brochures were available about the light station history and the geology of Hockamock Head, plus a free map showing lighthouse trails and island businesses. Many visitors stopped by the “gift shop” table; their donations help finance keeper’s house and tower operations.
Progress on the Restoration
We hope you might consider a year- end gift to FOSIL to help keep things moving forward on the restoration. FOSIL is a tax exempt, Maine non-profit corporation managed entirely by volunteers. 100% of your gift will go directly to FOSIL and Lighthouse Committee projects.
Progress on Keeper’s House Kitchen and bath.
We expect that there will be a kitchen and bathroom downstairs in the keeper’s house, ready for use next spring. Volunteers cleaned out the storeroom area to the left of the main entry in the keeper's house in preparation for installation of a bathroom. Plans for the bathroom and kitchen were prepared and approved. Our contractor removed damaged plaster and lathing from the future bathroom area, and removed lead paint in accordance with state and federal lead safe standards. Plumbing and electrical connections were placed for the bathroom and kitchen. A contract is in place and work is going forward.
Keeper’s House Ventilation
There is no ventilation upstairs in the keeper’s house; consequently mold has been a problem. We wrote specs for installation of ridge and soffit vents to resolve this, the plans were duly approved by the Maine Historic Preservation Office, and this project is underway.
Restoration of the light tower has begun. The wooden wainscoting in the tower lantern room was carefully removed, then restored and rebuilt off site. It will be reinstalled soon. (Some repairs to the metal shell are needed before the woodwork can be reinstalled.)
Other notable developments:
- With the help of a generous monetary gift and a donation of materials, we were able to complete the long-planned project of moving the fog bell back from the ferry landing in Atlantic to Hockamock Head. It is now installed on granite blocks near the pathway to the keeper’s house, and is the first artifact a visitor sees when coming down the hill to the light station.
- We made progress on replacing the flagpole. We have been promised an aluminum mast to replace the wooden flagpole that was shattered in a storm last winter, and expect to have it on site next spring. In the meantime, a temporary spruce flagpole has served us well.
- The interior of the keeper’s house was rearranged for better visitor flow, and we installed two elegant wooden tables, purpose-built for the display areas. There is improved signage on the displays and there are new shelves in the storage room.
- Several special events took place at the keeper’s house this summer: a concert of Celtic music attended by more than 100; a private family celebration with a catered lunch for 50 guests; an island tour group sponsored by Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
- We have embarked on a capital campaign to complete the restoration in four years (by the end of 2018) and already have some substantial contributions towards that end.
- Shingles on the keeper’s house were replaced, and flashing around the chimney was repaired.
- Landscaping was repaired and cultivated around the keeper’s house front door, and in the conservation area.
- We placed two large natural granite blocks near the flagpole, and one near the path to the oilhouse, which have proved to be attractive and irresistible seating for visitors.
- There are new signs in four locations on the trails, with maps and a narrative explanation of nearby vistas.
Plans for 2015
Plans for 2015 will be more fully developed after the FOSIL board planning meeting, which will take place in February 2015. But for sure these will be part of the plan:
- Install a new flag pole
- Get the kitchen and bathroom working on the first floor in the keeper’s house
- Open the keeper’s house and tower to visitors in the summer season for a fourth year, and, with the kitchen and bathroom in place, promote the keeper’s house as a venue for special events, all contributing to our expectation that when the restoration project is finished, the site will be self-supporting or close to it.
- Prepare the keeper’s house second floor for restoration. Preparation requires careful removal of hazardous materials such as mold and lead paint.
- After removal of hazardous materials, proceed with restoration of the second floor of the keeper’s house, as time and finances allow.
- Continue work on the tower, as time and finances allow.
- Produce an informational pamphlet about the flora and fauna of Hockamock Head.