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September 2013 MAINE COASTAL NEWS Page 9.


CAPE ELIZABETH – The end of July a signifi cant piece of Maine’s maritime histo- ry was destined for a warehouse in Boston fi lled with other “Property of the U.S. Gov- ernment” items. But now, thanks to an 11th

hour res-

cue by Maine Maritime Museum, the 1,800-pound Fresnel lens, installed in 1874 and which helped guide mariners safely into Casco Bay from atop the east tower of Two Lights on Cape Elizabeth for more than 120 years, will stay in Maine.

The new home for the lens will be at the Museum in Bath.

“This lens is a signifi cant cultural arti- fact with great meaning for the community of Cape Elizabeth,” said Amy Lent, the Mu- seum’s executive director. “I am happy that we learned of the impending move in time to step in and keep it in Maine. Coincidentally, the Museum’s current exhibit is about the U.S. Coast Guard in Maine, past and present, including the Lighthouse Service.” “It will take time to arrange proper long- term exhibit space and to create an interpre-

ROCKLAND -- Rockland Community Sail- ing at The Apprenticeshop is now accepting registrations for its fall high school sailing team, afterschool sailing program and adult sailing program.

The high school sailing team practices in Rockland Harbor on 14-foot, two-person fi berglass 420 sloops. Sailors practice Tues- days and Thursdays for eight weeks begin- ning September 3, and usually attend two to four regattas a season. Practices are coached from safety motor boats by instructor Patrick DiLalla. More than one hundred students from Rockland, Camden, Thomaston, and Medomak Valley schools have sailed with the team since it began in 2004. The team races against sailors from all over the north- east and travels to regattas along Maine’s coast including Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, and Portland. All mid-coast area students in grades 7-12 are invited to participate in the high school team. No experience is required and scholarships are available.

Afterschool sailing is a great way to introduce students in grades 4-8 to sailing or provide opportunities to hone previous- ly learned sailing skills. Students enjoy Maine’s fall shoulder season sailing in

tation that will bring this lens to life again,” Lent said. “We hope to collaborate with the community to ensure this part of Maine’s heritage is accessible to all visitors who have a fondness for lighthouses in general and the Cape Elizabeth Light in particular.” Although the Cape Elizabeth Light was automated in 1963, eliminating the need for a lighthouse keeper, the lens remained and continued its operation until it was replaced by state-of-the-art equipment in 1994. It was then displayed at the Portland Coast Guard Station. In 1995, the Coast Guard agreed to loan it to the town of Cape Elizabeth for 10 years as part of the Portland Head Light collection.

The lens became a familiar sight to those coming to the Cape Elizabeth Town Hall where it was displayed. The town council paid the more than $2,500 annual insurance premium to cover the lens, which had been valued at $2.5 million. This year the situation changed. The Cape Elizabeth Town Council re- cently approved funding for the renovation

Fall Programs at Rockland Community Sailing

Optimist dinghies, 420 sloops and keelboats while learning rigging, safety, tides, weath- er, knot tying and racing skills. Instructors are US Sailing, First Aid/CPR certifi ed. Afterschool sailing meets Mondays and Wednesdays for five weeks beginning September 9th. No experience required and scholarships are available.

Adults also have the opportunity to learn sailing this fall at RCS. Small class sizes offer plenty of room for in-depth, hands on learning from highly experienced instructors. Sessions run Monday/Wednes- day or Tuesday/Thursday from 4:00-7:00 pm.

Rockland Community Sailing has been teaching adult and youth sailing lessons for 15 years at the Apprenticeshop, a nonprofi t school teaching traditional boatbuilding and seamanship. Since 1972, the organization has offered hands on programs dedicated to inspiring personal growth through crafts- manship, community, and the traditions of the sea. Boatbuilding and sailing courses are offered throughout the year at our Rockland waterfront campus. Call KC Heyniger at 207-594-1800, or go online today for more information –

of the town hall, necessitating relocation of the lens. When the Coast Guard was contact- ed about moving the lens, the town learned that the loan could be renewed but that the conditions of such loans had changed. A “qualifi ed lampist” would have to dismantle and reassemble the lens to move it; the frame would have to be re-glazed; and the lens would have to be protected from ultraviolet light and visitors’ touches in its new location. Town Manager Michael McGovern summarized the situation in an email to the Town Council. “Updated conditions and insurance could result in an annual cost of about $7,500 to care for this lens,” he wrote. “I recommend we return this lens to the Coast Guard to ensure its long term pres- ervation.” On April 11 the Cape Elizabeth Town Council did just that, it voted to return the lens to the Coast Guard.

Based on the 1995 agreement, the town is still responsible for the disassembly, crating and shipment of the lens back to the Coast Guard. An estimate by a quali- fi ed lampist for disassembling and crating came in at just under $8,500. Insurance and

transport would be additional. The contract was signed, and it appeared the lens for the historic Cape Elizabeth Light was headed to Boston and its place on a warehouse shelf. Then last week Arlyn Danielson, cura- tor for the Coast Guard, who had recently helped support Maine Maritime Museum in putting together its Coast Guard exhibit, decided to call the Museum to see if the lens might fi nd a new home there. “We were very interested,” said Na- than Lipfert, the Museum’s senior curator. “Maine has more lighthouses than any other coastal state. Pieces of these lights, like the Cape Elizabeth lens, are important technological artifacts, which are diffi cult and expense to preserve. They are crucial to helping us understand the technology and economics of maritime trade in earlier cen- turies. They have become cultural artifacts as well, and many people are interested in them.”

“The Cape Elizabeth Light lens will

become the largest lighthouse artifact in our collection, and we look forward to having it in our care,” he added.


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