A partnership of three federal agencies and a non-profit society is working to preserve American lighthouses. The National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Department of Defense (DoD), and U.S. Lighthouse Society (USLHS) have joined forces on a multi-faceted project to initiate a comprehensive historic preservation program for the U.S. Coast Guard. This project includes an overall survey of the types of historic resources under Coast Guard jurisdiction, a training course for Coast Guard personnel in historic and cultural resource management, an assessment of preservation needs at 21 DoD and USCG light stations, and a Historic Lighthouse Preservation Handbook to aid lighthouse managers in addressing preservation needs on their properties.
The Coast Guard is responsible for buildings, sites, structures, and objects, including artifacts, documents, archeological sites, and properties of traditional cultural and religious significance to Native American communities. The survey will address all these property types, assess the current level of preservation planning for these resources, and recommend actions to improve Coast Guard historic and cultural resources management practices.
Up-to-date training on a regular basis is an essential element in Federal agency preservation program planning. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has developed and taught a three-day training course especially tailored for U.S. Coast Guard personnel. The course emphasizes situations and property types typically encountered by the U.S. Coast Guard.
A survey team of historical architects and a maritime historian have visited 21 former light stations in nine states, encompassing five different construction types. For each site, the team assessed physical condition and historical significance, and prepared a report which describes the historic features, identifies and prioritizies preservation treatments to be implemented as funds became available, and provides a historical overview and significance evaluation for the former station.
When completed, the Historic Lighthouse Preservation Handbook will be made available to every lighthouse manager in the country. It will focus on the maintenance problems associated with the many different materials and construction techniques used in former light stations. In addition, the Handbook will recommend strategies for the evaluation and documentation of former light stations, as well as include a history of lighthouse construction types; existing historic preservation laws, standards, and guidelines; and sources for more information relating to lighthouses. A section on conservation of classical lenses is also planned.
The U.S. Coast Guard Historic Resources Preservation Planning Project is coordinated by the NPS National Maritime Initiative. Other partners include the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the Navy's Legacy Cultural Resource Management Program; the NPS's Division of Conservation, Interagency Resources Division, Preservation Assistance Division, and Williamsport Preservation Training Center; and the non-profit U.S. Lighthouse Society.
Issued August 31, 1995