DeTour Reef Light Repaired – More Beautiful Than Ever

Seventh Grant from the “Save our Lights” License Plate Program

by Ann Method Green

The DRLPS has completed the long and thorough process of meeting the requirements of the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) Grant administered by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

The long winter of 2013-2014 delayed the pre-bid site trip for over a month with 40 plus inches of ice in the harbor on the date originally scheduled for the inspection. Once the bidders were able to get to the Light and scope out the work to be done, the process moved smoothly forward. The heavy rains during the summer helped to ensure that the roof was well repaired.

Left to right: Ken Czapski of Sanders and Czapski Architects; Bobby Olivarez of Mimh Enterprises; Bryan Lijewski from SHPO; Dave Bardsley from DRLPS; Jeff Velderman, Owner Quality Drywall of Holland, MI; and Frank Mihm of Mimh Enterprises

Left to right: Ken Czapski of Sanders and Czapski Architects; Bobby Olivarez of Mimh Enterprises; Bryan Lijewski from SHPO; Dave Bardsley from DRLPS; Jeff Velderman,Owner Quality Drywall of Holland, MI; and Frank Mihm from Mimh Enterprises

Based on recommendation by both Bryan Lijewski of the State Historic Preservation Office and Ken Czapski of Sanders and Czapski Architects of Marquette, Michigan, venting was installed in the second floor living area to help with circulation within the structure. The approval by SHPO to put a membrane material over the original copper roofing resulted in a significant cost savings and all wall and ceiling areas of the Light were repaired.

The $90,000 grant is the seventh MLAP grant received by the DRLPS since 2001. The DeTour Reef Light Station Water Ingress and Remediation Project was completed at the cost of $89,782. MLAP will reimburse DRLPS $59,855 and the DRLPS will pay the remaining $29,927.

The Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program is funded by proceeds from the sale of the “Save our Lights” license plate.

DRLPS matching monies come from the annual fund raisers and private donations from the following supporters: Bill and Lois Bryant, John and Sunny Covell, Linda Gyorkey, Dorothy Inhelder, Bryan Lijewski, John W. MacFarland, Robb and Mary Marshall, Bob and Mary Rogers, Richard and Jean Shoquist, Gordon Snyder , Debra Sumpter, Ann Thorne, and Douglas Webb.

Thank you to everyone involved in making the Lady once again a shining jewel in the DeTour Passage on the St. Marys River.

DeTour Reef Light Original Foghorn Made Operational

By Chuck Feltner

In 1956, the U. S. Coast Guard placed an F2T Diaphone foghorn on the DeTour Reef Light replacing an earlier type G Diaphone horn. The F2T horn operated until 1974 when the Light was automated. Jeanne Yorty, a resident of Drummond Island in the 1950s and 1960s, noted that, “We often welcomed foggy days for the great, sonorous BEEOOOOH sound of the DeTour Reef Light foghorn.”

The 1974 automation of the DeTour Reef Light required a foghorn that could be operated electrically instead of being driven by air as was the case for the F2T Diaphone. Consequently, the F2T was removed and replaced by an electric fog signal (an Automatic Power, Inc. Model FA 232) which is still in use today. At this point, the F2T was placed in storage at the Great Lakes Historical Society – Inland Seas Museum in Vermilion, Ohio where it resided in obscurity until 1997.

In May 1997, Jeff Laser volunteered to help William O’Brien, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Historical Society, inventory some artifacts that were in storage. Jeff, a foghorn expert, had heard by the grapevine that the DeTour Reef Light foghorn was in storage at the Museum. The rumor was true and Jeff found the foghorn all covered in a layer of dried mud and severely rusted in a condition that looked beyond the possibility of being restored. Nevertheless, in February 1998, Jeff made an offer to try and restore the foghorn to operating condition. By chance, in April of 1998, he received a membership application brochure from the DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society (DRLPS) and decided to join the Society. Along with his membership fee, he informed us of the existence of our 1956 foghorn and sent us some historical and technical information on the foghorn. Continue Reading

Second DeTour Reef Light Deck Crane Project Funded With Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program Grant

Deck Crane

The DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society (DRLPS) has received a grant from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) to replicate the second deck crane at the DeTour Reef Light. The $30,000 grant award for fiscal year 2007 requires matching funds of $15,000 from the DRLPS.DRL Deck Crane

The first crane restoration which began in 1999 was funded by a similar grant thru MLAP and was the first restoration project undertaken by the DRLPS. The grant application to restore the deck crane on the lighthouse was submitted by Jeri Baron Feltner and was completed in August, 2001 by L&B Builders of Drummond Island. Chuck Feltner was project director.

Large pieces of the original crane and the builder’s plate were discovered underwater near the lighthouse by divers Mike Spears, Chris Pemberton, Garey Eilertson, and Dock Borth and were used in the construction of the first crane. DeTour High School students, along with their teachers Brian Nettleton and Russ Norris, assisted in computer design drawings of the crane.

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