Your Exclusive Look at Whidbey Island's Restored Lighthouse

Your Exclusive Look at Whidbey Island’s Restored Lighthouse

by Jack Penland
The first thing I noticed was how white and clean it all looked.  Up against a long overdue summer blue sky, the freshly-painted stucco of the Admiralty Head Lighthouse was a beautiful contrast.  Add in the freshly-painted red metal roof and the lighthouse looked ready again to meet its public.
Gone was the scaffolding that had hidden the lighthouse during its seven-month restoration.  The construction fence would soon go away as well.
When will the grand re-opening happen?  “Soon” was all Lighthouse Program Specialist Sharon Young-Hale would say, explaining, “The contractors still have a punch list of projects.”

Pocket doors emerge from hiding.

Still Some Work

She pointed to the top of the lighthouse tower and noted the ball on the tower roof would be put back in place in the next few days.  The lighthouse was closed in January and contractors have until August to complete their work.  The COVID-19 pandemic slowed them for just a week until they could get a special exemption to continue, so they’re able to make deadline.
I was getting an early preview of the renovation.  Literally from top to bottom, the lighthouse has been given a thorough fix-up worthy of any historic building.  It has been ten years since any serous work had been done on the building, and this full-blown project was overdue.
At this point the lighthouse is expected to open in late July or early August.
The tower railing gleams in the sunlight.

The tower railing is clean and polished

Looking Out the New Windows

From Stairs to Windows

Rehabilitating the spiral staircase to the light was one of the more difficult tasks.  Two metal beams that support the stairs had to be replaced, and one had to be pulled out through the tower’s exterior walls.  In addition, the exterior walkway around the top of the tower had been restored and polished so that it now glistened in the morning sun.
Masonry, both outside and inside the historic structure needed repair before any painting could start.
Contractors also refurbished the windows throughout the building, giving the entire structure new protection against the elements.
Downstairs, walls had been repaired and repainted and new flooring gives modern protection without detracting from the overall historic look.

Looking down the
tower's stairs.

Refreshing an Old Look

But the focus of downstairs is the reemergence of beautiful wooden pocket doors between the Sitting Room and the Main Room.  Only one door is original.  The other was in pieces and a new door styled like the 100+ year-old original has replaced the original.
In room after room downstairs, everything is bright paint shiny new.  But, the lighthouse charm from another era still shows through as much as ever.
As if to underscore that there’s still work to do, a workman starts on something in the tower and the metallic shriek grinds any conversation to a halt.
One of the lighthouse lenses in the main room.

One of the lenses on display

Early lighting remains

In addition, with the exception of the giant lighthouse lenses, the rooms are mostly still empty.  The room for the gift shop, usually stuffed with lighthouse-related merchandise, is bare-bones empty.
When the lighthouse does open, there will, of course, be new social distancing rules.  The most significant is that because of the cramped space, the tower is closed.  But the lens exhibit and other exhibit information will be ready to go, and visitors will again be able to visit this landmark.

Fort Casey and
Admiralty Head Lighthouse



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