Another century of wind and water has taken its toll on the iconic Cana Island Light Station. The Door County Maritime Museum and Lighthouse Preservation Society, Inc. is stepping up to repair and preserve the five lighthouse keeper’s buildings that still remain, a rare glimpse of the past. Your donations are needed to support our restoration efforts this summer and in particular, restoration of the three outbuildings at Cana Island Lighthouse that are in desperate need of restoration and repair.
Together, since 2006, the Door County Parks Department and the Door County Maritime Museum have worked as historic preservation partners on Cana Island. Phase 1 of the Cana Island restoration project , completed in 2015, included the addition of new restroom facilities and a maintenance building, a parking lot, repair to the copper roof, repainting of the tower, repaired masonry on the tower and keeper’s house, restoration of windows and doors and many other updates.
Phase 2 has begun, however limited funds are an issue for the project. The roofs of the oil house and privy are in need of immediate repair. This phase of the Cana Island Restoration Project will cover restoring these buildings and the barn found on the island. When put out for bid the restoration costs came back much higher this summer than anticipated. No taxpayer money is used to maintain and preserve Cana Island which is why private donations and fees from attendance on the island help fund the restoration projects and the island upkeep.
In 1890, 21 years after Cana Island Lighthouse was built, a crew of 25 men poured onto the island to renovate the station. Part of those renovations included building the fireproof hexagonal stone oil house to store the kerosene used for fuel in the lantern room. This oil house is the only one of its kind in the United States as verified by the US Lighthouse Society.
“The Cana Island Lighthouse is not only a navigational light but it is the structures and buildings that make up a window into the past where the keepers of Cana lived. The outbuildings we are restoring are part of the continuing story of remembering and celebrating an era long gone,” noted the museum’s Executive Director, Amy Paul.
After fundraising efforts raise the money needed to complete Phase 2 of the restoration efforts, the Door County Maritime Museum will begin fundraising for Phase 3 and Phase 4 of the multi-stage project. Phase 3 funds will be used to build a center to include a gift shop, admissions office and an interpretive area. This center will also house the 3rd Order Fresnel Lens when it is retired from the lighthouse, one of the largest lens used on the Great Lakes. Phase 4 will restore the interior of the keeper’s house and provide historical, time-period interpretation of the life of a lighthouse keeper.
To help preserve and repair Cana Island Lighthouse, donations can be made at www.dcmm.org/cana-island-restoration-project/ or at www.gofundme.com/canaislandlighthouserestoration. Donations can also be made by sending a check to 120 N Madison Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 or calling the museum at (920) 743-5958. Thank you in advance for your support.