Details are firming up for our birthday celebration. Please view or download the latest poster which highlights the events of the day. Download by clicking here. Print a copy and stick it on the refrigerator door!
Pam Semp, Vice President Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society and Kelly Jo Osentoski, Community Promotions Director share info about the lighthouse in general and also about the upcoming 130th Birthday celebration on the “Discover the Blue” News Network. Click on this link to see the video.
by Buzz Hoerr
After a nearly 3 year process of negotiation with the Coast Guard on legal technicalities, the Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society is returning the original sweeping red and white beam of light to the lighthouse! It will return in the form of an exact replica of the original 4th order lens in every aspect, including performance that was reviewed and approved by the Coast Guard, as designed and built by Artworks Florida. There are several of these lenses currently at work in multiple locations throughout the US.
The only difference between this new replica and the original lens, currently on display at the Grice House Museum at the marina in Harbor Beach, is the thoroughly modern method of producing the prisms by using 3D printing of acrylics instead of glass. These prisms are much less expensive and time consuming to fabricate. They perform exactly as designed by Augustin Fresnel, who invented the system of varying combinations of refraction prisms to create a focused beam of light from a relatively low power light source. Fresnel’s designs were the catalyst for a system of aids to navigation that proliferated throughout the world in the mid to late 19th century, including the Great Lakes.
Fresnel lenses were determined to have a very high value by the late 20th century and were removed and conserved either in storage or on display, as the Harbor Beach lens has been at the Grice House. They were replaced by several generations of modern optics that were designed to be maintenance free and perform the function of an aid to navigation, but the charm and beauty of the “light”house was lost in the process.
So the Society launched a fundraising campaign to “Bring Back the Light!” and over 90 individuals and businesses chipped in with donations from $100 to $5,000 to have their names on prisms and other components. The entire cost of the new replica was raised over last summer. A new solar tower with panels and storage batteries will provide all the energy needed to power the new lens and the exterior lighting.
In order to have a proper celebration and ceremony to light the new lens, the Society’s Marketing Committee developed a 130th Birthday Celebration of the original commissioning of the lighthouse in 1885, which will take place Saturday, July 18. It will include an afternoon and evening of activities and public events, tours of the lighthouse by boat, speakers featuring Dennis Hale, the lone survivor of the 1966 sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell and a catered dinner topped off by lighting the new lens!
For more information on the 130th, booking tours on line and how to join the Society, check out the rest of this website.
|June 20||10:00 – 1:00|
|June 27||10:00 – 1:00|
|July 4 (Independence Day)||10:00 – 3:00|
|July 11 (Maritime Festival)||10:00 – 3:00|
|July 18 (Birthday celebration)||10:00 – 4:00|
|July 25||10:00 – 1:00|
|August 1||10:00 – 1:00|
|August 8||10:00 – 1:00|
|August 15||10:00 – 1:00|
|August 22||10:00 – 1:00|
|August 29||10:00 – 1:00|
|September 5 (Labor Day)||10:00 – 1:00|
|September 19 (Harvest Festival)||10:00 – 1:00|
|September 26 (Huron County Museum Day)||10:00 – 1:00|
Recent fund raising efforts to purchase and install an exact working replica of the original 4th Order Fresnel lens in time for the 130th anniversary of the commissioning of the Harbor Beach Lighthouse next summer brought in donations from all parts of the United States. Of course, local residents and former residents donated to the cause, many of whom remember the flashing red and white sweeping beam that graced the landscape for years. Mariners who spend time in and around the harbor and on the waters of Lake Huron donated. Members of the Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society donated.
There was also a donation made by a very special group of young people that call Harbor Beach “home” during their visit each summer. These individuals are young enough to have never seen the red and white flashing light shine along our shore. The yearly 4th of July lemonade stand tradition, by the McNair family from Cincinnati, Ohio, always benefits a local, worthwhile cause. Over the years 14 year old Eloise, 11 year old Charlotte, and 10 year old Webber have been assisted by neighbors and one special family friend, Ashley Wehner Palmer, to make this event possible.
Previous years donations have been made to the Harbor Beach Fire Dept, a local child with cancer and the Harbor Beach Theatre. This year Charlotte did most of the organizing and, with help from friends, they chose to donate $100 to the “Bring Back the Lens” project. Their donation will sponsor a portion of the lens and the recognition plaque, but bigger than that is their spirit of community and the example they set for others.
The Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society gratefully accepts the donation from Charlotte and friends and also commends the McNair family and friends for their efforts to make a difference in Harbor Beach. We are excited that you and future generations will enjoy the flashing beacon for years to come.
There are still a few bronze level donations available. If you haven’t contributed, hurry as these few left are going fast. To learn more about the program and to grab one of the last bronze level spots, click here.