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Jupiter Lighthouse roof in need of repairs

Posted at 9:01 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 21:56:29-04

The oldest Palm Beach County landmark is in need of repairs.

The roof of the Jupiter Lighthouse is seeing signs of wear and the organization that cares for it needs your help.

"I had my sandbox under that big Banyan tree out there," remembered Judy Wehage, of Jupiter, as she shared pictures from her childhood.

Some of Judy's fondest memories were at the towering, 108-foot tall iconic landmark.

"My daddy used to take me walking up the lighthouse steps on his back, when i was little," said Judy. "He would stop at every one of those windows and catch his breath."

Born in 1939, Judy spent her earliest years living on the grounds of the Jupiter Lighthouse. Her grandfather was a lighthouse keeper.

"It was his light house, my grandfather's light house," said Judy.

When the Jupiter Lighthouse was built in 1860, it was the only structure between Key West and Titusville. Today it's one of only 13 lighthouses of its kind in the country.

The Jupiter Lighthouse is maintained today by Steve Kruspe, the current lighthouse keeper.

"The fact that i maintain it, that's about as personal as it gets," said Steve, who explained how he uses the same methods to maintain the lighthouse as the original lighthouse keepers.

Kruspe says the lighthouse roof needs to be repaired as soon as possible.

We're in an extremely corrosive environment," he explained. "Iron work on this tower is constantly being assailed or assaulted, if you will, by the elements.

Photos shared with us show rust on the deck plates and paint bubbling. A hurricane could have a devastating impact.

"We are concerned there would be intrusion of water into the tower because the tell tale signs rust streaks, drip lines, so on, and so forth are showing itself in certain parts of the towers," explained Steve.

The nonprofit group that cares for the lighthouse, the Loxahatchee River Historical Society, needs to raise another $45,000 for necessary repairs.

Keeping the lighthouse in tip-top shape means so much to so many people, especially Judy. "It's been around for so long and it's always in my memory, very special to me," Judy shared.

The Loxahatchee River Historical Society is aiming to complete phase one of the roof repairs by Christmas.

During that time, the lighthouse will be open but portions of the gallery deck will be closed.

For more information about how you can donate go to www.jupiterlighthouse.org

Attach a note saying "Lighthouse roof" when you send in the donation.

There will also be a fundraiser in November

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