Scaffolding surrounds the iconic Admiralty Head Lighthouse, which will be closed to visitors for months as workers complete a major renovation project on the 1903 structure.
The often-photographed lighthouse at Fort Casey State Park is one of many restoration projects planned for Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve this year.
Last year, the state Legislature approved $1 million in historic preservation grants that will fund a wide range of projects, including preservation work on the “big guns” at Fort Casey, stabilization work on the Coupeville wharf and new cedar shake roof at the Captain Whidbey Inn.
In addition, the Navy is funding nearly $900,000 in restoration work at the historic Ferry House as mitigation for the impact of increased numbers of EA-18G Growler flights. It’s uncertain whether the work will take place this year.
The Legislature also approved nearly $1.7 million in capital funding to renovate the “well-loved and well-visited lighthouse,” which was visited by 53,000 people last year, said Chris Holm, Central Whidbey area manager for Washington State Parks. That number doesn’t include all the people who hiked by or took photos without going inside.
“We take pride in taking care of our historic structures,” he said.
Pioneer Waterproofing out of Oregon will do the work, which Holm said requires specialized skills. The exterior stucco and metalwork are deteriorating and, on the inside, walls have cracks and some railings need repair, State Parks reported in a press release.
Holm said the wind and saltwater environment take a toll on the structure
Renovation work will be done on the lighthouse tower, the attached residence and the nearby oil house. It will include masonry work, metal work, window restoration and painting.
In March, the lighthouse exhibit center and gift shop will be temporarily moved to the park office building. Holm said the volunteer docents who are crucial to the lighthouse program will be at the temporary exhibit and stationed outside the lighthouse to talk to visitors about the history of the lighthouse.
The lighthouse is scheduled to be reopened in late August, but Holm hopes the work will be done earlier than anticipated so that visitors can return sooner.