Installing Our Fresnel Lens


A fourth order Fresnel lens is bigger around than a large person, so it was a challenge to get it into the lantern room of the Pottawatomie Lighthouse.  Until shear determination won the day, the installers were considering dismantling a window pane in the lantern room and hoisting the lens up to the 3rd story from outside the Lighthouse.  That would have proved very time consuming and dangerous, so the group decided to try going through the hatch with the lens to see if it would make it.  The thought was that they got the original one up there somehow, so maybe it would go through the hatch this time too.

Ever so gently and slowly, the lens was hoisted from above and guided from below as you see in the accompanying photos.  Hold your breath while viewing the photos and you will know how it felt to be there to witness this special event on Tuesday, May 10, 2005!

Gary Nevin and Ed Gunn (formerly Gunnlagson) escorted the lens from Florida to Rock Island and did the installation.  The lens was shipped by Fed Ex Air to Green Bay and driven to the Rock Island Ferry by Ed's father - a retired pilot of the Washington Island Ferry Line.

Articles appeared in both the Door County Advocate and the Washington Island Observer telling of the Fresnel lens being made for our Pottawatomie Light.

Patti Murray of Wisconsin Public Radio spent the day on Rock Island to cover the story of the return of the a lens to the Pottawatomie Light Station.  Click here to listen to her news broadcast.  Scroll down to the story called:

Light House Shines Up

Tim Sweet, Jim Johnston and Colleen Andrews of the FORI Board were present for the installation that day.  Park Rangers Kirby and Roger and the park staff helped with the transport of the lens to the lighthouse and guided the successful installation.

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