As with so many things in life, the US Lighthouse Society's project to preserve and restore the Point Wilson Light Station is much more complicated than it first appears. There are so many competing tasks that need to be done. So many interlocking priorities. So many specialized skills required. So many practical constraints, from funding to materials availability.
The first priorities are preservation, safety and infrastructure. They have to be. Without them the project ultimately goes nowhere, and we couldn't open the lighthouse to the public. Though they're not highly visible, these have been and continue to be our focus. But sometimes a highly visible project comes along that we can do.
Such was the case for putting the flagpole back in service.
The Light Station needs a working flagpole. There are a zillion reasons why we want to fly the flag there. But the pole was in sad shape. Its main halyard was gone completely as was one of the two halyards on the yardarm part way up the pole. A quick look at the base of the pole doesn't inspire confidence about its longevity.
And then the remaining halyard broke. So, what to do?
Replacing the 40-something foot pole is a big (read "expensive") undertaking, not something that fits with the more pressing priorities. But after inspecting the pole more closely it was clear that its base is in better shape than it seems on first sight, and the rest of the pole is in pretty good condition. It's worth doing a simple restoration project, and, importantly, thanks to donations from.visitors and gift shop sales, we have the needed funds.
On July 14, Chad Kaiser, the Project Manager at Point Wilson, and Dave Ehnebuske, a volunteer, did the job. Chad rented a "cherry picker" and hauled it to the site. This gave them access to the whole length of the pole. They removed the yardarm to simplify the installation, and installed all new hardware.
The new installation allows us to fly the Lighthouse Service pennant below the US flag. Our beautiful new US flag is a gift to Point Wilson from the New Dungeness Lighthouse. The Lighthouse Service pennant has been on display in the lighthouse for several years. Traditionally, it was flown on lightships and lighthouse tenders. At light stations, only the keeper who fared the best in the annual inspections was authorized to fly the pennant — and only for the next year.
Much better. This makes us happy!