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Historic Preservation
& Restoration


Plum Island

1st Lighthouse Ruins (1849 - 1858)

Rear Range Tower (1896)

Front Range Tower (1964)

Light Keepers Quarters (1896)

Fog Signal Building (1896)

Lifesaving Station Crew's Quarters (1896)

Lifesaving Station Boathouse (1939)

Pilot Island Lighthouse (1858)

Pilot Island Lighthouse Fog Signal Building Ruins (1904)


This year we focused on raising the funds for the Rear Range Light restoration and strategic planning for the next series of projects listed on our five-year matrix, which include:

• Boathouse Garage Door Replacements – the lower sections were blown out in a winter storm several years ago. We have the sections fabricated and now need to locate an artisan who is familiar with the hardware used in 1939 to support these doors.

• Boathouse Roof Restoration – the shingles are cedar shake and must be replaced ‘like for like’ (or as close as possible) to meet SHPO’s requirements.

• Crews Quarters Front and Rear Porch restoration

• Keepers House brick and mortar repair

• Lead Paint Abatement of multiple buildings, both interior and exterior

• Interpretive signage

• Complete painting crews’ quarters front porch lattice

• Bat condominium 

• Pilot Island Keepers House Light Tower restoration

• Pilot Island debris cleanup

• Pilot Island roof replacement

• Pilot Island brick repair


Plum Island Boathouse
Pilaster Restoration

The (1939) boathouse was last painted in 2012 when lead paint was abated (scraped off before repainting). Unsure of exactly how the old job had been done, the restoration team treated this project as if there was lead encapsulated in the paint.

To correctly execute according to environmental standards, a plastic shroud was built around each area to catch paint chips scraped off. The Team, working within the enclosure, wore Tyvek suits with hoods, masks and eye protection. Paint chips were vacuumed up and removed from the island for proper disposal.
Three of the four pilasters were able to be restored, while the fourth one needed to be replaced. Cornell Construction Company of Washington Island milled the piece to perfection and the pilasters are set to weather another 83 years!

Pilot Island Lighthouse
Lantern Deck Rubber Membrane

When contractor Chad Moore, Moore Quality Exteriors of Sheboygan worked on the Pilot Island gutters and downspouts (2021) he noted that the base that the lantern sits on was needing repair. Chad and his team installed a new rubber membrane onto the deck of the lantern to prevent further damage to the structure.

The Historic Preservation & Restoration team completed an inspection in the Spring of 2023 to further assess the damage and plan for restoration.


We came back strong in 2021 with a TON of projects completed across both islands!

Lifesaving Station Crew's Quarters
Historic Windows & Exterior Restoration

The scope for this project continued to change through the COVID years. In 2021 a group of
volunteers gathered in one of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge’s outbuildings to paint the 43
Carlson Erickson Builders of Sister Bay was awarded the contract to install the windows in the old boat bay, replacing (or restoring) the doors, rebuilding a period replica of the boat bay door, rebuilding the back porch steps, replacing the picture window with a period specific set of windows, installing windows in the boat bay, and uncovering windows openings that were covered in an earlier remodel.
Funding for this project came from a $50,000 grant awarded to us by a local philanthropic organization that wished their name to remain anonymous.

Range Light Restoration

• The contract for this work was awarded to Mihm Enterprises of Hamilton, Michigan, a renowned Great Lakes lighthouse restoration firm.
• Grants provided us the needed funding to:
  o Perform lead paint abatement and painting of the Front Range and Rear Lights
  o Restoration of the Lantern Room on the Rear Range Light
  o Restoration of the Watch Deck/Watch Room level (interior and exterior painting)
• Total Cost: $215,614.85
• Funding: Grants from the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund, a donor advised fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the Door County Community Foundation and the FOPPI General Fund