PITA NewsLetter

Sponsored by the Plum Island Taxpayers & Associates, Inc. 2017

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Michael D. Paige
                Post Office Box 893
                        Newburyport, MA 01950
                        Telephone: (508)-405-0673
                        Facsimile: (978)358-8459
                        Email: mpaige@paigelawoffice.com

Year-Round Plum Island Resident
                     Free Initial Consultationsmailto:mpaige@paigelawoffice.commailto:mpaige@paigelawoffice.com?subject=Saw%20your%20ad%20in%20the%20PITA%20Newslettershapeimage_4_link_0

Plum Island Beautification

Plum Island Beautification meetings, the 1st Tuesday of the month

All are welcome to PI Beautification meetings, the 1st Tuesday of the month at PITA hall at 7:00.

Any questions or ideas please email Lynne Petty at lynnepisland@gmail.com

“Our first main road from Town Way to northerly tip of Plum Island, September 19, 1920.  “

From the new book, Plum Island and Salisbury Memories, published by the Daily News, 2016, Alan White Editor.

Call PITA or email Frank at Fpierce1@comcast.net for the book.

PI’s Replica of the Roanoke (N.C.) Marshes Lighthouse 

by Dirk Messelaar, PITA

Karen Lynch, a local realtor, was on a house tour with other agents when they looked at a water front trailer at the end of the basin. Bernie Coughlin, an electrician and sometime fisherman, had lived there for about 20 years and had passed  away  two years before. The property had been for sale for quite a while, but the private easement in front of the property (with its possible lack of privacy and remaining small yard) had dissuaded prospective buyers. 

But Karen saw the amazing Basin views and quickly persuaded her husband Bob to have them purchase the trailer and property. She asked Bob “What should we build here that would take advantage of the view?” He didn’t hesitate answering “All of my life I’ve wanted to live in a lighthouse.” And she replied just as quickly “Done!” Now Bob’s fantasy might seem eccentric to some, but not if you know Bob. A mechanical engineer with many patents to his name, he considers himself what he calls a “Gyro Gearloose.” Here’s someone who installed an antique water pressure gauge as well as industrial valve wheels for sink fixtures in his new lighthouse replica’s contemporary bathroom. 

Karen found Bob the lighthouse of his dreams online: the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse in Manteo, North Carolina. Completed in 2014, it is a replica of the original lighthouse that was constructed in 1877 at the southern entrance of the Croatan Sound on the coast of North Carolina. The 1877 light was installed in the water using a screw-pile construction with seven screw pilings. As time wore on, ships and boats accidentally hit the base of the lighthouse. So, 80 more pilings were installed over time. This apparently worked well as the lighthouse remained in service until 1955. However, when the light was decommissioned in 1955, the private owners lost the lighthouse while towing it to land. In 2004, a replica of the light was built and dedicated at the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum in Manteo, North Carolina. Roanoke is so proud of the replica that it serves as the lead photo on the town’s web site. 

Once they found the lighthouse online, they began sketching an interior layout. The exterior would mimic almost exactly the Roanoke Lighthouse; however, the interior of the North Carolina lighthouse would never serve as a private home. In addition, as Bob, a mechanical engineer, pointed out, a Plum Island house needs to be designed specifically to meet the demands of an island environment. For example, the structure should be virtually water proof as ocean winds can drive rain horizontally and even upwards into every crevice. 

Scott Brown, a Newburyport architect, worked for over 6 months on a number of revisions before drawing the final formal plans from the Lynch’s concept drawings. The house has an open-concept living/dining room/kitchen, a modern bathroom with walk-in shower, and a large guest room on the first floor. The second floor has an even larger master bedroom with a vaulted ceiling, wide picture windows overlooking the Basin, and a luxurious en suite bathroom. A novel feature in the master bedroom that in addition to the king size bed, there is a bed nook built into the wall with its own picture window. 

Britton Construction from Newbury, a respected builder having constructed many local houses, built the house two years ago in just under 6 months during the winter of 2015, the worst winter ever.

The most challenging aspect of the project was to design, manufacture, transport, and install a replica lantern room on the roof. The 8-foot hexagonal, steel and glass lantern room was fabricated in Michigan. It was then transported to Newburyport Yacht Club on a 45-foot flatbed truck. From there it was transferred to Ron Barrett’s flatbed wrecker and transported to the site where a crane from Haverhill lifted it on the house. Bob and the builder had installed 28 bolts on the roof. And when the lantern room was lowered into place, it fit onto the bolts perfectly. 

When asked if this wasn’t enough for a lighthouse replica, Bob replies “Why have a lighthouse without a light?” So, he again went online to find a used Fresnel 4th order (size) lens. While these lenses are somewhat available worldwide they are incredibly expensive and most reside in museums.  Bob settled for a more modern version of a commercially available tower beacon manufactured by Crouse and Hinds, “The lens looks like a large honey ladle,” Karen explains. The original light house in North Carolina used acetylene or kerosene as a light source, but Bob uses a 7 watt LED light. His Fresnel beacon is used around airports to mark tall obstructions and can be found at the top of the Zakim Bridge in Boston. The lantern room was complete with a vent ball on top and a lightning rod. “The beacon light almost never goes on,” Bob cautions, “but we will have a small, unobtrusive light in the lantern room so people can see what’s up there at night.” 

So now Plum Island has another lighthouse: a mirror image of a North Carolina lighthouse with a storied past and considered among the most beautiful lighthouses in America. 

Lynch’s lighthouse replica on PI (photo by Dirk Messelaar)