It’s lights out at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse for the month of May as restoration efforts begin.
The towering lighthouse is South Florida’s oldest landmark and precious to so many. But to keep it proud and shining bright, delicate restoration must be done.
The Jupiter Lighthouse lens is so rare it’s irreplaceable.
“It's made up of almost 300 prisms and made in France,” explained Jamie Stuve, the CEO of the Jupiter Lighthouse & Museum. “There's no longer any way to replicate them.”
The roof is critical to protecting that lens. “The last thing you want in any historic building let alone a Civil War era building is to have holes in the roof,” said Stuve.
She explained that’s why restoration work is critical before hurricane season starts in June. “Although we keep it in mint condition, a little bit of water can really do a lot of damage,” added Stuve.
In September, we first reported on plans to make the much-needed repairs to the cast iron roof. Rust on the deck plates and paint bubbling is what makes the lighthouse vulnerable during a storm. “Once you get water in a masonry building, a building made of bricks, that water gets distorted and routed to all kinds of nooks and crannies,” explained Stuve.
A team of lighthouse experts will also add a handrail in the watch room leading to the gallery, and paint the top of the tower
That special paint arrived from Germany Tuesday.
The cost of restoration for the lighthouse is at least $152,000. The Loxahatchee River Historical Society says it needs about another $30,000 more to pay the restoration in full.
Click here for more information about how you can donate.
Although visitors can't climb the tower, tours will still be available. The museum says they are offering tours at 50% off the original price. You can also check out a new exhibit about lighthouse keepers called Keeping the Light at Jupiter Inlet: Adventures in the Lives of Lighthouse Keepers. It dates back to the 1850s.