The Vermont Colchester Reef Lighthouse has quite the history. Today the lighthouse can found at the Shelburne Museum, which can be found just a few miles south of the city of Burlington, Vermont. Read on to find out some information about the lighthouse.
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Designer and the Design
Albert R. Dow is the man responsible for the design of the lighthouse. Dow was an engineer who received his degree from the University of Vermont.
The lighthouse was built in 1871 and it only cost around $20,000 to build. The plans for the lighthouse included a kitchen, four bedrooms and a sitting room on the top floor as well as an oil room that was located on the bottom floor. The Colchester Lighthouse was the most expensive lighthouse that was built on Lake Champlain and stood at 51 feet tall. This made the lighthouse visible to people who were up to eight miles away.
Location of the Lighthouse
The Colchester Lighthouse was located on Middle Bunch, which was the name for the rock the lighthouse was situated on. The foundation for the building was constructed by filling a wooden crib, that was sunk into the site, with stone and concrete. Ice floes (chunks of ice) and rough water were concerns for the builders of the lighthouse and for those reasons they made sure that two layers of stone were built around the crib. These layers of stone helped protect the lighthouse from the rough waters and the ice floes.
Damage to the Lighthouse
Throughout the years, the lighthouse has suffered damage due to many reasons. Storms would often slam the lighthouse and ice jams also battered the building – often. The winter months seemed to be when the lighthouse would suffer from quite a bit of damage. The first winter was hard, as the lighthouse’s outer layer of stone was damaged and needed to be replaced. It cost over $4,000 to replace the stone. The foundation was damaged once again in 1873 due to a major storm that struck. The damage was estimated at $5,000.
The Lighthouse Today
As mentioned earlier the Colchester lighthouse is now in a museum. The lighthouse found its way to the museum after it was abandoned and put up for auction. In 1952, the lighthouse was auctioned off for just $50. A couple had bought the lighthouse and planned to raze it. The founder of the Shelburne Museum heard about the news and offered the young couple over $1,000 to buy the lighthouse from the couple.
The Vermont Colchester Reef Lighthouse now houses an exhibit on the history of Lake Champlain and maritime history. Information about the history of the lighthouse itself can also be found inside the lighthouse.