Lorain 'jewel' celebrates 100 years

Lorain Lighthouse - Tiffany Tarpley

LORAIN - The ‘Jewel of the Port’ -- Lorain's lighthouse -- is turning 100 years old this week.

An historical marker will be unveiled Friday at 11 a.m. near the mile-long pier to honor the occasion.

The Lorain Lighthouse Foundation works on the upkeep of the structure.

“It’s been a work in progress since 1989,” explains board trustee Matt Dempsey.

“Everything you see has been done by volunteers, except for a couple of professional jobs, but it’s still an ongoing process. ... It’s just like maintaining a house you get one project out of the way and then another project pops up.”

According to the foundation’s Web site, in 1965 the building was slated for demolition “to make way for a planned $22 million harbor improvement program,” but “a group of concerned citizens mobilized to help prevent the demolition of the lighthouse.”

For years, it’s been a symbol of the city.

“When people think of the lighthouse they think of Lorain or vice versa. They’re kind of inseparable," says Dempsey

Photographer and lifelong resident Robert Bodnar walks the mile long pier daily.

“It just eases your heart and mind and it’s just a joy, I just enjoy coming out, even if I don’t get a picture,” Bodnar says. 

“It’s our jewel here in Lorain, We’ve lost a lot of jewels we’ve had but this is one that’s going to stand forever I hope.”

Tours, sunset dinners and donations help fund the restoration and preservation of the lighthouse.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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