ILWACO — As work continues toward restoring North Head Lighthouse to how it looked when new in 1898, a donation from a local woman with an interesting tie to the lighthouse will bolster efforts to improve the historical landmark.
The lighthouse was significantly degraded by harsh weather, time and neglect when acquired by Washington State Parks from the federal government in November 2012. Largely thanks to legislative appropriations, major renovations have been under way this winter, including the reopening of long-sealed windows just below the lantern room. The current legislative session may include authorization of a remaining $990,000 to restore the lighthouse tower’s crumbling sandstone base.
In the meantime, local volunteers with the Keepers of North Head Lighthouse/Friends of Columbia River Gateway continue to provide time and funds to augment state efforts. A $1,000 contribution from Kay Mulvey is a noteworthy boost for this work, group spokeswoman Lona Niemi said Monday. Mulvey’s generosity is particularly fitting, as her late husband Charles often celebrated the lighthouse in his famous watercolor paintings.
In 2016, Keepers Of North Head Lighthouse/Friends of Columbia River Gateway funded the Waikiki Beach Concert Series, park volunteer support, a new $17,000 brass handrail in the lantern room, new handrails at the North Head Lighthouse keeper’s residence and replacement of Fort Columbia interpretive panels.
This year, the group has again committed to funding the Waikiki Beach Concert Series, park volunteer support, development of construction drawings to replicate the historic fence at the North Head Lighthouse, a condition assessment of windows at the North Head keeper’s residences and replacement of 10 interpretive panels at Cape Disappointment.