Friday was the quarterly maintenance for Umpqua River Lighthouse. Me, Dave and a couple of the County maintenance guys spent about 4 hours dusting, sweeping, washing windows and cleaning the lens, nerve-wracking work really… The lens weighs about 2 tons but it’s also 118 years old, one a kind, worth $5 million, and fragile. From the inside of the lens it is possible to “knock out” one of the bulls-eyes, it’s been done at another lighthouse just north of here. A cleaning was being done, just as were doing, and someone on the inside bumped the bulls-eye and it fell out, crashed to the ground and a couple of the prisms broke…the lighthouse was shut down for a year and half and it cost $25,000 to replace the 2 broken prisms. So, that’s what was going through my mind as I was inside the lens washing the glass.
Anyway, the most challenging part of the whole process is just jacking up the lens. There are 3 small jacks that are placed under the lens and the 3 guys slowly and carefully raised the lens. It’s so heavy that if it sat still on it’s wheels for more than a few minutes it would leave flat spots on the wheels.
Everything went great and we still managed to fit a couple of tours in before closing. It was a very productive day and the lighthouse is sparkling!