The Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation cut the ribbon on its new dock at the Harbor of Refuge lighthouse in the Delaware Bay.
The foundation is dedicated to fostering, advocating and participating in the preservation of the historic Delaware River and Bay lighthouses. It demonstrates this commitment through the restoration and preservation of the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse.
The 76-foot-tall, black-and-white beacon stands in the Delaware Bay at the Atlantic Ocean end of the outer breakwater. The lighthouse has been unreachable for the last six years. The powerful winds and turbulent waters of the bay have destroyed its dock 13 times in a seven-year span, said Red Moulinier, president of the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation, which has cared for the lighthouse since 2002.
A pricey project to build a robust, concrete-and-steel dock was completed in November. With a safe dock now in place, Moulinier said, maintenance work can begin, and foundation members have been out diligently working to restore the light.
The existing Harbor of Refuge Light went into service in November 1926, just six months after the infamous collapse of the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse, which stood in current-day Cape Henlopen State Park.
The Harbor of Refuge Light was manned until it was automated in 1973. At the time, all the windows were covered, and no one visited the lighthouse until the foundation entered into a 20-year lease with the U.S. Coast Guard in 2002. The foundation took ownership of the light in 2004 as a result of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.
The foundation is seeking volunteers, specifically younger people who are eager to help with maintenance projects at the lighthouse. The group also seeks donations, as each trip out to the lighthouse is costly. For more information about the foundation, go to www.delawarebaylights.org or search for Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation on Facebook.