JUPITER, Fla.- - In two days, the lights will turn back on at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and soon visitors will once again be able to climb to the top for one of the best views anywhere.
The view from the top is incredible. The delicate restoration to keep the icon intact is almost complete.
“We honestly feel this is the best condition this lighthouse has been in since it was built,” said Jamie Stuve, the CEO of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum.
Stuve showed us the work the preservationists tackled. “There are certain tools that you can and can't use, certain paints you can and can't use,” she explained.
Preservationists painted the gallery deck, the masonry and most critically, repaired the cast-iron roof. It houses the lighthouse’s irreplaceable First-Order Fresnel Lens.
“Underneath layers of some bubbling rust were actual holes,” explained Stuve. “When the rust was removed, we found a dozen good size holes around the edge of the lighthouse.”
Contractor Anthony Houllis is one of few people with the skills to do this. “I understand the history and the meaning that these lighthouses have in their communities,” he explained.
Among several repairs, rust was removed from the roof and it was painted with four coats of special paint.
“It's a lot more brittle,” said Houllis. “Where steel will bend, the iron will tend to break rather than bend. So, you definitely have to be cautious and experienced with it.”
All this work done in the nick of time before hurricane season starts on Thursday. “Once water gets in, it’s very hard to tell where it's going and when it'll come out and what damage it's doing along the way,” said Stuve.
Climbs to the top of the lighthouse will resume on Saturday.
On Friday, look for the lighthouse's beacon of light to shine brightly.
A great way to support the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse is to purchase a specialty license plate. It helps support the Florida Lighthouse Association, which helped the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse with a grant to pay for the restoration.