Light­house renos near­ing com­ple­tion

Cape Forchu vis­i­tors will have more re­al­is­tic ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing in a light­keeper’s home

Tri-County Vanguard - - FRONT PAGE - CARLA ALLEN

Along with the brisk salty breeze at the Cape Forchu light­house prop­erty is ex­cite­ment over a mas­sive re­fur­bish­ment project.

Many improvements and en­hance­ments have taken place this sum­mer, in­clud­ing ex­ten­sive re­pairs to the ex­te­rior of the main build­ing. Sof­fits and trim have been re­placed. The build­ing has been resh­in­gled. Cas­ings, doors and win­dows have been re­placed with at­ten­tion to the build­ing’s her­itage.

“This has been needed for many years and it’s go­ing to look awe­some when fin­ished,” said site and ar­chives man­ager Jill Dur­kee.

Although scaf­fold­ing won’t be com­ing down un­til Septem­ber, much of the in­te­rior work is com­plete. Work will con­tinue through the off-sea­son on the mu­seum up­stairs.

The build­ing now has a theme fo­cus­ing on the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing in a light­keeper’s home. Car­pet has been re­moved from gift shop and re­placed with beau­ti­fully stained hard­wood.

“We have all these old ar­ti­facts, and car­pets just suck up the mois­ture. It’s not a good com­bi­na­tion,” said Dur­kee. Al­most ev­ery­thing in the gift shop is made by lo­cal ar­ti­sans. More ar­ti­facts have been added, in­clud­ing relics from ship­wrecks. Dur­kee says there were 98 ship­wrecks of ves­sels ap­proach­ing Cape Forchu in Yar­mouth Sound. Yar­mouth was the sec­ond big­gest ship­ping port in Canada in the 1800s.

“We’re gath­er­ing pho­to­graphs and news­pa­per ar­ti­cles for a col­lage of ship­wreck in­ci­dents to il­lus­trate the im­pact,” said Dur­kee.

The light­keeper’s bed­room and a room ded­i­cated to what the Yar­mouth tourism ex­pe­ri­ence was like in the 1800s will be fea­tured.

The new Keep­ers Kitchen serves up cold lob­ster rolls with sal­ads, sweets, chow­der and other items. Pic­nics pre­pared on site are en­cour­aged. A take­out win­dow will be added in the fu­ture.

The fog alarm build­ing near the base of the tower is where the light­house’s orig­i­nal DCB-36 lens is now on dis­play. Vis­i­tors can press a but- ton to make the light re­volve against a night-sky back­drop. The light­house keeper’s work­shop is also part of this mu­seum, with a chal­leng­ing in­ven­tory of tools to iden­tify.

The Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Yar­mouth di­rected $380,000 to­wards ren­o­vat­ing the out­side of the main build­ing. The fog alarm lens project was funded by the win of $25,000 through the “This Place Mat­ters” con­test put on by Her­itage Canada.

In­te­rior ren­o­va­tions have ben­e­fit­ted from do­na­tions made to the Friends of the Yar­mouth Light. The Keep­ers Kitchen op­er­a­tors funded their own ren­o­va­tions.

CARLA ALLEN

Cape Forchu light­house site and ar­chives man­ager Jill Dur­kee looks over the tools in the light­keeper’s work­shop mu­seum.

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