Restoration of the Burnt Coat Harbor Light Station

"Keeper of the Light" AwardThere are four buildings at the light station. When the Town undertook its restoration program, all four were in need of serious attention. The restoration has been guided by a Historic Preservation Plan prepared by Historic Building Architects of Princeton, New Jersey. In 2017, the restoration work received the Keeper Of The Light award from the American Lighthouse Foundation, for “provid[ing] the national lighthouse community with a shining example of preservation excellence.” The preservation work carried out to date is summarized below:

The Keeper’s House

Tasks completed:

  • Sealing and stabilization – a new roof deck and new roof sealed the house from water intrusion. First floor framing required stabilization. Portions of the foundation had to be rebuilt. Chimneys needed repair.
  • Exterior renovation – new clapboards; restored soffits, trim and door frames; new gutters and drainpipes; new entrance doors. Window sashes removed, restored and repainted; window frames repaired, sashes reinstalled, storm windows installed.
  • Interior renovation – the three main downstairs rooms are restored and in regular use in the summer season for historical displays, art displays, and special events. We also designed and installed a new kitchen and handicapped accessible bathroom.
  • Hazmat removal – following guidelines in a professionally prepared report on hazmats, each room was cleared of hazardous materials such as lead paint prior to restoration.
  • Upstairs apartment – the upstairs rooms have been transformed into a small apartment that is suitable for summer rental.

The Light Tower

For renovation of the light tower, we are following a detailed engineering cost study and workplan commissioned by the Town in 2013 and prepared by Resurgence Engineering of Portland. The plan calls for two phases of restoration: (1) Phase 1: interior; (2) Phase 2: exterior and masonry.

Tasks Completed:

Phase 1
  • Cupola window panes removed, metal frames and astragals repaired, panes returned and professionally reglazed, window frames and metal exterior wall beneath the windows repainted.
  • Wooden wainscoting in the lantern room was removed, restored and returned to the lantern room.
  • Leaks in the metal shell of the cupola were repaired.
  • Rust and lead paint were removed from all wood and metal surfaces in the lantern room and the watch room, and from the stairs.
  • Lantern vents were removed, repaired, restored and reinstalled.
  • All wooden and metal interior surfaces were refinished with architecturally approved paints in historically accurate paint colors.

“Before and after” photos of the tower restoration can be seen in the photo gallery.

Still To Do:

Phase 2 remains to be done. Phase 2 Part 1 will be restoration of the masonry and metal cupola. This project will require staging around the entire tower. This project awaits funding. Meantime, we will chip away at those portions of the project that can be completed without staging (Phase 2 Part 2).

Other buildings and landscaping

There is work needed on the Oil House, the Bell House, and some work on the grounds. In 2018, we expect to further define these remaining projects with up to date estimates.

Volunteers

We are so grateful to our dedicated volunteers! If you would like to help out at the lighthouse, these are the volunteer opportunities:

  • Be an on-site volunteer when the Keeper’s House is open for visitors, answering questions, managing donations, and making sure everything runs smoothly.
  • Volunteer for a work day on the trails or at the Keeper’s House, or volunteer to be on call for maintenance tasks during the summer months
  • Join the Lighthouse Committee or become a Board Member of the Friends of the Swan’s Island Lighthouse
  • Research and writing: Help develop informational materials, research the history of the light station, look for grant opportunities
  • Help with fundraisers

Information about volunteer opportunities is occasionally posted on Facebook, or send us an e-mail.

Thank you to Our Donors

So many people have helped make things happen at the Light Station and Lighthouse Park. We would especially like to acknowledge foundations and other grantmakers that have helped make so much progress possible:

  • Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation
  • MBNA Foundation Conservation Grants Program
  • Hart Family Fund for Small Towns, administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • State of Maine, Maine Historic Preservation Commission, New Century Community Program
  • Walmart Foundation
  • Maine Humanities Council
  • Davis Family Foundation
  • Maine Recreational Trails Program/Maine Conservation Corps
  • Maine Community Foundation, Belvedere Fund
  • Maine Coast Heritage Trust
  • Maine Seacoast Mission
  • Maine Department of Transportation, Small Harbor Improvement Program

Key Planning Documents For The Restoration

Your Gifts Keep Us Going….

We so appreciate every donation!

Volunteers

We are so grateful to our dedicated volunteers! If you would like to help out at the lighthouse, these are the volunteer opportunities:

  • Be an on-site volunteer when the Keeper’s House is open for visitors, answering questions, managing donations, and making sure everything runs smoothly.
  • Volunteer for a work day on the trails or at the Keeper’s House, or volunteer to be on call for maintenance tasks during the summer months
  • Join the Lighthouse Committee or become a Board Member of the Friends of the Swan’s Island Lighthouse
  • Research and writing: Help develop informational materials, research the history of the light station, look for grant opportunities
  • Help with fundraisers

Information about volunteer opportunities is posted on the website, or on Facebook, or send us an e-mail.

What Visitors Have To Say

The apartment, the weather, the people, the beach, the trails and especially the views have been exceptional.

- Ted and Carol, August 12, 2017

We are fortunate to have traveled to many places in this world, but still contend, by far, this is the prettiest place on earth. Stay in the keeper's house - you will not be disappointed!!!! It is special.

- Spencer, July 10, 2017

Took our weekly vacation on Swans Island, really enjoyed our great times there with our family & friends.

- Edith, April 20, 2016

Sunrises and sunsets are stunning, punctuated by the parade of lobster and sail boats.

- Barbara, August 18, 2017

You truly have a treasure…. perched out here atop the rocks with the vast sea at the doorstep…. we watched a bright moon spilling its light onto the water, listening to the music of the waves, and wondering anew at the stars emerging in the dark sky….

- Susan, September 2017

This has been a lifetime experience! The beauty of Swan’s Island can’t be described in words or photographs, for they just don’t do it justice….I look forward to coming back again next year!

- Lacy, September 2017

I cannot express the gratitude I have for all of the dedication and hard work that has been given to the restoration of such a beautiful Light House.

- Kathy, July 2, 2017

We just stayed there and it is tremendous. The view and setting is amazing. The quality of the Keeper's house (2nd floor) is excellent. It is fresh, well decorated and spacious.

- Mary, July 15, 2017