RESTORE 14 FOOT BANK LIGHTHOUSE
United States once built over 600 lighthouses. Many of the
lighthouses were built offshore on small islands or on cast iron
tubes called caissons buried into the sea floor.
Since 1960, the Coast Guard the successor of the Lighthouse Service has sold or demolished most of the lighthouses and replaced them with automated light buoys. A few of the lighthouses were sold or given to charities on the condition that the Coast Guard reserved the right to operate a light in the tower.
is the intent of this offering to raise the funds necessary to
restore 14 Foot Bank Lighthouse as much as possible along the lines
of its historical past. The 14 Foot Bank Lighthouse is on the
National Register and thus must be restored along historic lines
which was always the intent. Because its location so close to
Washington on the Delaware Bay , 14FootBank is one of the most
photographed and beautiful offshore lighthouses still in restorable
Fourteen Foot Bank is one of the most beautiful lighthouses of its type. It was of the caisson design built in only 14 feet of water. It is located in the Delaware Bay approximately 8 miles from Delaware and 6 miles from New Jersey. It was a 3 bedroom house with a huge 30 diameter basement. The lighthouse, up through the time of its automation, was referred to as a Victorian Lighthouse made of iron ( 1 1/2 inches thick) on the water. There are dozens of websites which have pictures of Fourteen Foot Bank Lighthouse
Before transferring or selling a lighthouse the Coast Guard would gut the inside and take everything out to the wall studs. When Congress ultimately discovered what the Coast Guard was doing to our American historic heritage, it enacted the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act to stop the Coast Guard. It was, however, too late as the Coast Guard had by then gutted virtually all US lighthouses. To this day, the Coast Guard does not offer an explanation as to its reason as to why it gutted the lighthouses but it did. Today it would be a federal crime to do what the Coast Guard did to all of our American lighthouses.
In 2008, Michael Lynn Gabriel bought 14 Foot Bank Lighthouse in 2008 with the intent to restore it. However became Mr. Gabriel became ill and the program was on hold for several years. The Gabriel Foundation, a Delaware nonprofit. was created in the name of his patents and will handle the restoration. The Gabriel Foundation is a Delaware charity devoted to lighthouse and historic restoration
The project calls for the construction a dock around the lighthouse on which will be placed a wind generator to power the lighthouse. The lighthouse was last powered when it was manned by a power cable run on the sea floor, When the Coast Guard automated the light with solar. it cut the cable - again without excuse, reason or explanation. So now the lighthouse needs another source of power and a wind generator is perfect but expensive at $50,000.
Sanitation and water will be provided by both a Coast Guard approved marine sanitation systems for boats and a marine desalination system which will be located in the attic along with a 400 gallon tank
When completed the inside will have restored 3 bedrooms and 2 baths along with a nice sized kitchen with period looking appliances. Heating will be by electric heaters powered by the wind generator. There will be on the side of the lighthouse a boat elevator converted for people use so no one need climb the 30 foot ladder. The plans have been approved by the State HistoricPreservation Office for Delaware
The total cost of the restoration will be in the range of $500,000 Had the Coast Guard never gutted the lighthouses, the improvements would be within a $100000-150000 range. The lighthouse will be compliant with Americanswith Disabilities Act.
When the restoration is completed the Fourteen Foot will be one oft he few off shore lighthouse in the US open to the public for tours and stays as a bed and breakfast.
For those helping to restore the lighthouse as they probably will never see it person, we want to share the experience by offering several rewards.
1. T shirts for each $100 contributed which will have both a before and after picture of the lighthouse with a caption: “ I helped to restore 14 FootvBankLighthouse”
2. For each $150. the reward will be 2 mugs one with a picture of the before unrestored lighthouse and the other with the restored lighthouse
It will could up to a year to complete the restoration so the rewords will be sent upon completion when the final picture can be taken. If the reward is wanted sooner it can be sent without the completed picture
For $1000, the donor will have use of the lighthouse for 5 days once it is completed. This would be a good bargain as the lighthouse is located so close to land. A boat will be provided for the lighthouse for the short commute to land