Heavy winds didn’t stop the hundreds gathered to watch the Port Clinton lighthouse make a half-mile journey down the Portage River to its new home on Lake Erie. The 120-year-old lighthouse has been an enduring symbol for Port Clinton, a town west of Cleveland.
Fans followed the path of the 12,000-pound lighthouse Tuesday as it traveled by boat and truck, lifted by a crane three times. It had been sitting for more than 50 years at a nearby marina.
Port Clinton resident Debbie Krofft watched the action from her chair overlooking the lake -- and the four piers the white lighthouse rested on.
"I’ve lived here all my life, I live right across the street," she said. "This is a great, great day for Port Clinton."
At just 26 feet tall, the green-trimmed lighthouse is one of the smallest on the Great Lakes. It’s also one of the few remaining all-wood lighthouses.
Despite its size, Richard Norgard, president of the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy, says the structure is a major icon for the city.
"It provides a sense of pride. It’s going to attract people here, so economically, it’s going to be a benefit to the community. This community has been depressed over the last couple of decades," he said.
While the lighthouse won’t be the answer to all of Port Clinton’s problems, he added, "I think people see it as a start – maybe a start to something greater."
Norgard says the conservancy will make the lighthouse more accessible by adding steps and a replica fresnel lens before opening it to the public as a museum.