The mission of the Friends Of The Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse is to provide financial and physical support for the restoration and ongoing maintenance associated with the lighthouse.
Once preserved, the lighthouse and other historical and maritime features in Kewaunee will become an educational and recreational asset to the community.
Restoration of an Icon
The Friends of the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization designed to help fund the restoration of The Kewaunee Lighthouse.
The Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse is a beloved community icon and a reminder of the local maritime history shared by the early settlers, shipper-merchants, and recreational enthusiasts of today. Still serving as an active aid to navigation, the City of Kewaunee received ownership of the lighthouse from the National Park Service in 2011.
Kewaunee was subsequently awarded a state grant in 2015 for use toward the repair of the harbor seawall and the stabilization of the lighthouse. The main focus was to protect the lighthouse structure from the elements and curtail further damage. The initial stabilization took place in 2017 as a massive exterior restoration. The asphalt roof was replaced with a new metal roof system. Rotted roof sheathing was replaced and a complete ice and water shield synthetic layer was laid. Along with the extensive roof repairs, exterior wood elements were stripped of their paint, repaired or replaced if needed, then primed and painted. Additionally, corrugated metal siding on the tower exterior was replaced with fiber/cement board siding to give the structure a cleaner and more uniform look. Plywood and plexi-glass enclosures on window openings were removed, allowing more light into the interior and new aluminum storm windows were installed to keep the weather out. The existing window units remain in place, protected from further deterioration for a future restoration project.
Although these initial repairs were ultimately for the protection of the structure, they have greatly enhanced the appearance of the lighthouse and are just the beginning in the process of the restoration! The grant from the State of Wisconsin has been an incredible first step in the restoration initiative. Even so, the next phases of the project will require the support and contributions of people both in the community and beyond.
The large door that faces the city was heavy plywood and deteriorating. A real set of doors were installed in the summer of 2020. To accommodate the anticipated tours, the entry level deck was enlarged and a permanent railing installed in 2021.
The 5th Order Fresnel lens that lit the lighthouse for more than 100 years was decommissioned on June 6, 2019. It was replaced by an LED light that is more efficient than the 200 watt bulbs that lit the lens. Learn more about the lens!
The lens was removed from the tower and moved to the Kewaunee County Historical Society’s History Center. The History Center is located at 217 Ellis St in Kewaunee and is typically open Thursdays and Fridays from 10am – 4pm. Stop in and visit!
Be on the lookout for opportunities to learn more about the restoration progress (including tours!) and what you can do to support our efforts.
For a full history of Kewaunee Light Station – go to our History page!
Additional History Sources (External Links)
City of Kewaunee – Information about the Lighthouse from the City
Lighthouse Friends – A very comprehensive history
Thank you for visiting!
CURRENT MAJOR RESTORATION PROJECT: Historic Structure Report
A historic structure report provides documentary, graphic, and physical information about a property’s history and existing condition. Broadly recognized as an effective part of preservation planning, a historic structure report also addresses management or owner goals for the use or re-use of the property. It provides a thoughtfully considered argument for selecting the most appropriate approach to treatment, prior to the commencement of work, and outlines a scope of recommended work. The report serves as an important guide for all changes made to a historic property during a project-repair, rehabilitation, or restoration-and can also provide information for maintenance procedures. Finally, it records the findings of research and investigation, as well as the processes of physical work, for future researchers.”National Park Service
With the lighthouse’s exterior restoration mostly completed in 2017 and the lighthouse’s acceptance to the Register of Historic Places in 2022, we’re getting ready to begin interior restoration!
The historic structure report will be our roadmap to ensure we restore the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse to a high-quality, historically accurate appearance. Grant funding is available, however we are responsible for raising 50% of the cost of the report.
After the completion of the historic structure report, we will be conducting repair on the foundation of the lighthouse to seal out the water and repair the steel where it connects to the foundation.
Donations are a great way for you to help with these big projects!
MINOR PROJECTS CURRENTLY UNDERWAY OR PLANNED
– Re-Installation of power and lighting throughout lighthouse
– Removal of metal panels covering windows on main (Machinery) level and install storm windows to protect remaining window hardware
An alternative to monetary donation is in-kind donations. We’re currently in search of the following items to assist in our restoration/tours.
Two door metal cabinet
Coffee Pot (1940s-1950s vintage, non working ok)
Hot Plate (1940s-1950s vintage, non working ok)
Old Coffee Can – 1950s
Sturdy folding chairs for our volunteers
If you have an item you’re interested in donating, please email us.