Swan's Island, Maine   44˚8'3.49"N 68˚26' 50.44"W

The Restoration Project

Restoration of the Burnt Coat Harbor Light Station

There are four buildings at the light station. When the Town undertook its restoration program, all four were in need of serious attention. Guided by a Historic Preservation Plan prepared by Historic Building Architects of Princeton, NJ, we began by focusing on:

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 - so far, we have restored the three main downstairs rooms and they are in regular use in the summer season for historical displays, art displays, and special events. Downstairs, a new kitchen and handicapped accessible bathroom will be completed in time for the 2015 summer season.
  • Hazmat removal - lead paint and asbestos tile have been removed from the upstairs rooms, making them ready for the coming renovation.
  • Upstairs apartment - restored the two main upstairs rooms and added a kitchen and bathroom, making a small apartment suitable for summer rental.
Still to do:

In summer 2017, we will restore the oceanside porch, the last essential step in renovating the keeper's house.

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. The plan calls for two phases of restoration: (1) Phase 1: interior; (2) Phase 2: exterior and masonry.

  • 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 replaced.
  • 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 refinished with architecturally approved paints in historically accurate paint colors.

For a photo gallery with “before and after” photos of the tower restoration, click here.


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 Phase 2 Part 2, those portions of the project that can be completed without staging.

Other buildings and landscaping

There is work needed on the Oil House, the Bell House, and some work on the grounds. In 2017, we expect to further define these remaining projects with up to date estimates.

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