On June 30th, 2013 the Port Washington Historical Society in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin held a dedication ceremony for the Lights of Port Washington lighthouse project. The project was a joint venture between the city, Boy Scout Will Pfrang and the Historical Society.
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Port Washington Historical Society was established in 1991, and in 2000 began restoration of the 1860 lighthouse, which is owned by the city. The Society is a non-profit, all volunteer group that has created walking tours of the downtown, presentations on local history for schools and is a sponsoring organization for the Maritime Heritage Festival held every August. The Society has also written several books on Port Washington and the lighthouse.
“The Society leases the lighthouse and maintains it and also has a volunteer group that gives tours where visitors can see how lightkeepers lived in the 1800s,” said Jackie Oleson, Board of Directors President. “A climb to the top of the tower gives a great view of the city below and the lake beyond.”
Pfrang, a local boy scout, came to the Society with an idea to create some signage for the lighthouse. Pfrang and his advisor came up with an idea to mount a 36”x 60” Pannier panel in a roofed kiosk. The panel is suspended between two side posts with cables and is mounted to an angle so it can be easily read. Members of the Society worked nearly six months on research and planning the design. The kiosk also servers as a historical marker that shows the history of the 1860 light house but also its predecessor the 1849 light house that stood in the same place.
“Will did a great job,” said Oleson. “What is really neat is that the kiosk blends into the lighthouse itself with its red tin roof and white posts. Our volunteer who designed the graphics for the panel on the project was able to use her design her first paying job.”
Funding for this project and all other projects come from donations of the Society’s members, fundraisers held thought out the year, admissions from tours of the lighthouse and profits from their gift shop.
“We were interested in a panel that would handle the extremes of weather and sun and give some measure of vandal proof,” said Oleson. “Pannier’s Fiberglass Embedded Panels were perfect for everything we wanted.”
“I would have no hesitation in recommending Pannier to other potential clients,” said Oleson. “We found that Robin and the staff answered a multitude of questions as we developed the project. The communication and assistance was very helpful since we needed to adapt our historical panel to its placement within the kiosk. The panel came in a timely manner and shipped well. It turned out exactly as we wished and we could not be happier. We look forward to working with Pannier to develop additional informational panels on the grounds of the 1860 Light Station.”