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We join in applauding the work of the New London Maritime Society in summoning the volunteer resources and private donations necessary to repair and restore the New London Harbor Light off Pequot Avenue.
The maritime society, which operates the Custom House Maritime Museum on Bank Street in New London, took ownership of the historic lighthouse in 2010, the result of a federal program to discharge the care and possession of lighthouses to reliable stewards. The NLMS took possession of the Race Rock Light Station and New London Ledge Light under the same program.
Now work has begun on the restoration project intended to secure Harbor Light for generations to come. Volunteers are playing a vital role, with tradespeople from local carpenter and painter unions, for example, lending their services. Other artisans will pitch in on the work, while businesses are donating materials. The NLMS and the region are demonstrating how the important work to maintain these links to the past can be done affordably, if the community gets excited about pitching in.
Dating to 1801, the Harbor Light is the oldest of the three lighthouses now in the care of the maritime society. Its automated light remains an active aid to navigation, maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. Responsibility for the rest of the structure rests with the NLMS.
Pointing to their extraordinary historical significance, George Sprecace likened U.S. lighthouses to the castles and cathedrals of Europe.
On one level, it is an apt comparison. However, unlike those institutions, the lighthouses democratically cast their lights to help all, regardless of social stature or religious bent.
For a full list of who is volunteering and for information on how you can donate and assist, visit www.nlmaritimesociety.org.