Park district gets grant to restore Point Robinson lighthouse windows

The Point Robinson lighthouse will have its windows restored next year, thanks to a hefty grant from 4Culture, King County’s cultural services agency.

Thirteen windows and frames in the 1915 historical structure will be taken out, disassembled, stripped of their paint and meticulously examined to see which parts of each window can be re-used and placed in a restored window.

The project will cost at least $33,000, according to a bid put in earlier this year by a local company, said Capt. Joe Wubbold, president of the Keepers of Point Robinson. The majority of the cost comes from the many hours of skilled labor needed to disassemble and examine the original windows and craft restored windows that are true to the originals.

“To replace windows at the lighthouse is a pretty complicated procedure because of the age of the windows and the way they’re put in,” said Wendy Braicks, executive director of Vashon Park District, which manages the Point Robinson property.

Nearly 100 years old, the lighthouse’s single-pane windows are ready to be restored, Wubbold said.

“The windows have been kept shut for years and years and years,” he said. “So we tried a couple of them and found that one of the reasons they’ve been kept shut is if you open them and close them again, they begin to leak,” Wubold said. “We want to make sure we can open and close the building and use the windows.”

The lighthouse is the centerpiece of the Point Robinson park, a complex of buildings that is on the National Register of Historic Places. The lighthouse is sometimes opened to visitors, who can climb its spiral staircase, enjoy the view from the top and examine the priceless Fresnel lens that sits encased in glass atop the light tower.

Point Robinson is also the site of several free events each year, including Kite Day and the Low Tide Festival.

Because Point Robinson and the lighthouse enrich the Island community culturally, it is appropriate that the lighthouse window restoration project was awarded $24,000 from 4Culture, Wubbold said. That amount, 70 percent of the total estimated cost, is the maximum 4Culture could award the project.

Vashon Park District was given the grant thanks to an application by the Keepers of Point Robinson and park district grant writer Allison Shirk, Wubbold said. The park district plans to apply for a grant from the state’s lighthouse license plate program to cover the last $9,000 of the window restoration project.

“There’s no question in my mind that it’s going to get done,” Wubbold said.

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