Community begins fundraising to restore Ned’s Point lighthouse
MATTAPOISETT – A campaign to restore one of Mattapoisett’s historical gems is underway.
The Friends of Ned’s Point Lighthouse, a nonprofit organization, is fundraising for a full restoration of the beloved lighthouse.
Sal Giglia, a member of the group and one of the Coast Guard members who gives tours of the lighthouse, says that he doesn’t just want to continue to “put Band-Aids” on the aspects of the historic structure that need fixing. Giglia is also a restorative consultant, and has been a leader in the fundraising efforts.
He wants to restore it once and restore it right – which he said will cost about $290,000.
To give the lighthouse a full restoration, Giglia said the structure would need a complete rehabilitation consisting of new windows and updating its outer and inner surfaces, among other improvements.
The repairs would take about a month, which Giglia says would happen in the “off season” time, such as spring or fall, where the lighthouse would be quartered off for repairs.
Giglia says the first phase of raising $20,000, which began in 2019, involved removing paint from the inside of the structure. As the lead paint was a hazard to visitors, this step was necessary in order to give tours in the lighthouse.
This phase has since been completed, and tours are currently available to the public.
“Luckily, the lead paint was isolated inside the lamp room upstairs,” he said. This made it more accessible and less expensive to fix than it could have been otherwise.
However, Giglia noted that the lighthouse has “never been fully restored” since its construction in 1837.
When the lighthouse was commissioned by former President John Quincy Adams, Giglia noted that it was originally crooked, and it was over budget to fix it, so the team began using rocks from the beach in order to finish the structure.
“It has always had a Band-Aid,” he said, referring to the quick fixes the old lighthouse has received since its inception.
“It’s a very historical, important structure for the South Coast,” he explained. “It’s actually the most photographed lighthouse because it’s so accessible to the public.”
Giglia added that many lighthouses are caged in by the Coast Guard and inaccessible, but at Ned’s Point, you can take tours and even have a picnic nearby.
The lighthouse isn’t just important for tourists – it’s used by sailors, too. The fully operational lighthouse serves as a guide for ships to port. Giglia says that before this, the only close place for ships to safely stop was Bird Island in Marion. When the lighthouse lanterns were first lit in March of 1838, Mattapoisett became a feasible destination for sailors.
What Giglia calls the “second phase” to raise the remaining $270,000 fee began on July 16, where the Friends of Ned’s Point Lighthouse started their efforts with a table at Harbor Days. He said in addition to donations, the Friends are also looking into applying for available grants.
“We could just keep fixing wear and tear, but it’d be nice to use all new and stronger materials that can withstand bad weather,” he said.
The Friends are also looking for more volunteer members of the nonprofit to assist in the fundraising efforts.
To learn more or to donate, visit friendsofnedspointlighthouse.com.