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Until June 11, the top of Old Baldy Lighthouse will be closed while new windows are installed. The Smith Island Museum of History will remain open and visitors to the lighthouse will be able to climb as far as the fourth landing, where they will still have a view of Bald Head Island golf course, the mouth of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean.
This past spring, a hairline crack formed in one of the nine windows in the lantern room. The crack was due to the development of rust on the bottom of the window frame. The harsh coastal environment has taken its toll on the window frames and the lantern room frame as well. On close inspection, it was noted that six out of the nine frames were in as bad condition as the one with the hairline crack.
After consulting with five companies that were recommended for their work on historic buildings, The Old Baldy Foundation hired Cape Fear Building Maintenance, Inc. to replace all nine windows. In addition, they will replace the “door” in the lantern room with a new one that will hopefully improve ventilation.
Work will begin on Monday, June 7, and depending on the weather, will be completed by the end of the day on Friday, June 11. The work will include lots of breaking of glass, sanding, grinding and painting. The glass and new door will be hoisted up the outside of the lighthouse on a specially designed cart with large tires. It will literally crawl up the exterior of the lighthouse. This is necessary because the new windows and the door will not fit through the opening into the lantern room.
The proceeds from this years Pirate’s Are Coming event will go toward the new windows in the lantern room. Get your tickets starting June 28 at www.oldbaldy.org or by calling 457-7481.