Hello, all Lighthouse and Chesapeake Bay Lovers!
Have you ever chased a dream? I wanted to put this message out there as a less "stuffy" portion of the website and give you a personal introduction to me and to those of us behind the Craighill Range restoration project. Like us, you also have the ability to be a part of this project from the ground up! I feel lighthouse restoration and accessibility to the public is on the brink of major change, and now is the perfect time to get in on the action and be part of the revolution.
I’m a normal person, like most of you viewing this website – I work a full-time job as a computer consultant, have a husband and two children. I am not a native of the area, but I have lived near water most of my life and feel like a fish on land in Northern Virginia where my family currently resides. I grew up near the Great Lakes and took an early shining to lighthouses. I moved to Florida for school and the start of my career after graduating from high school. My fledgling passion for lighthouses and historic structures really took flight during the ten years I lived there. My best friend and I would find every means possible to paddle ourselves out to Egmont Key off St. Petersburg so we could admire the lighthouse and enjoy the adventure of uncovering abandoned army fort buildings and remnants. The island, lighthouse, and ruins were close to my heart and very difficult to leave when my husband's job moved us here.
Since moving here, we have spent many spare weekends traveling around the mid-Atlantic area to visit what few lighthouses are open to the public. Even before leaving Florida, we looked into the possibility of purchasing a lighthouse, or maybe building a replica for a house, but circumstances prevented us from doing so at that time. Instead, we comforted ourselves with the purchase of an historic Victorian home in NOVA to restore and make our family home.
I'm one of those people whose relatives send lighthouse knick-knacks to her for every gift-giving occasion. So when, shortly after we took the financial risk on our home, my brother-in-law read an article about the new NHLPA program, detailing the government's plans to excess lighthouses and turn over stewardship of the historic structures to non-profit organizations, he naturally sent it to me.
We were not financially in the position to take yet another risk. However, I knew if I didn't chase the dream and at least try, I'd always regret it and wonder 'what if'. So I held my breath and dove into the unfamiliar waters of creating a non-profit organization, rounding up some professionally successful friends as board members, and set off on the three year application expedition for the Lower Range Front Lighthouse. This has been a journey all about chasing a dream and participating as it becomes reality.
Since we acquired the Craighill Channel Lower Range Front Light, I have loved every minute of the weekends spent on our falling apart boat and on Millers Island, which I now think of as our second home.
We can't do this alone, however, and invite you to become a part of our organization as we work hard to see this entire project through to success. More and more lighthouses will be turned over to non-profits in order to restore them and open them to the public. Look at it as an opportunity to participate in something from the ground up. We acquired the lighthouse during the national pilot program, so we are truly at the start of something big.
One of the benefits in joining with us is that we are small and therefore are able to work personally with all members. As a member, you will have the opportunity to help out at the lighthouse before it is ready for public visits. Whatever your skill set or items to offer, just being a member is a great start. Our most pressing need currently is to build a dock at the lighthouse so further work can be done safely – no more acrobatic tricks necessary to get on the platform! I’ll admit, I'm terrified moving forward as I look at the daunting prospect of raising over half a million dollars to fund the restoration work, finding contractors, and negotiating contracts for the work to be done, etc. But the end prize will be worth all the current pain and fear, once the lighthouse is visited regularly and offers the opportunity to learn more about the history and heritage of the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore ports to generations to come.
I invite you to become a participant in this dream, and maybe realize some of your own dreams in the process. I look forward to meeting the people in the community and future members of our ‘lighthouse home’. I also look forward to sharing this adventure with my own children, who can grow up with the memories of helping to make this lighthouse dream a reality. But I'm not selfish – I truly believe that the lighthouse belongs to the community and all members of the organization. So, please, jump in and join us!
President, Historical Place Preservation