Your Vote for Cana Island Light Needed Now to Net a $25,000 Restoration Award

Door County Maritime Museum (DCMM) seeks public online support to win “This Place Matters” Community Challenge.

cana-island-lightWith your help, the Cana Island Lighthouse could receive $25,000 towards its restoration from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The 2010 “This Place Matters” Community Challenge helps non-profit preservation organizations harness the power of this campaign, to raise awareness and mobilize people in our area, and to start a conversation about what matters in our community – along with the chance to win a $25,000 cash award.

If Cana Island receives the greatest number of votes in the National Trust’s on-line 2010 This Place Matters Community Challenge, the money will be used for a restoration grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation, which increases the award to $37,500!

With less thant two weeks left for voting and the Museum only entering the competition a few days ago, the Museum is in 28th place out of 88 entries. Please don’t delay; the campaign ends on Sept. 15, 2010. By voting, you will help the Door County Maritime Museum raise awareness (and hopefully funds!) for the restoration project “Illuminating Our Heritage!”

Voting Instructions:

1)      Please go to and click on the large yellow letters “This Place Matters!” Read about the restoration project.

2)      Log in/Register. If you do not wish to receive emails from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, un-check the box; the National Trust honors your privacy (although you will receive a one-time email containing your log-in and password for future visits as well as confirming receipt of your vote).  Click SUBMIT.

3)      The page will re-load, confirming your registration information.  Be sure you are viewing the page for the property you wish to support (Cana Island Lighthouse in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin on Lake Michigan), and click VOTE.  Each person may vote once per email address. If you have more than one address you may vote again, but you must leave the browser and start again.

4)      Tell your friends about this project!  Click on “Tell A Friend” and fill in the form. Or, put a blurb on your facebook page and encourage votes for Cana Island Lighthouse!

Historic Background:

Cana Island Light Station was a strategic position for the navigation of ships. This semi-remote, wooded island is in the historic town of Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin. A rocky causeway connects the nine-acre island to the mainland.

Since 1970 under lease from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society’s mission at Cana Island has been to maintain and upkeep the light station and adjacent grounds. The 1869 resources of the island and light station are irreplaceable; a truly unique setting and experience for visitors. Currently, there are five buildings remaining on site. These buildings include the light tower, keeper’s residence, oil house, privy, and storage shed. An isolated setting such as Cana Island with a grouping of intact structures offers a rare glimpse into the past.

As modernization of light systems developed, the U.S. Coast Guard no longer had reason to maintain lighthouse properties and began to transfer properties to the Bureau of Land Management for disposition. In 2006, the U.S. Coast Guard transferred the property to the County of Door with the Door County Maritime Museum as historic preservation partner.

The Museum, the County of Door, and the Historic Structures Report project team have identified basic flaws in the current buildings that hinder access by the public, limit interpretation, and cause general degrading of the building fabric over time that will, if left unaddressed, result in the loss of historic integrity. To fulfill its mission to preserve Door County’s maritime history, the Museum requests your support to address building restoration needs to ensure that the facility is sound, appropriately maintained, and safe for future generations of visitors.  Your vote for the restoration of Cana Island Light Station will not only secure $25,000 toward the cost of $910, 236, but will help fulfill a $303,412 matching grant recently awarded by the Jeffris Family Foundation.

On the 1976 National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, the Statement of Significance testifies, “The Cana Island light has been fittingly described as ‘…one of the most picturesque on the Great Lakes.’” Cana Island Light Station is unique and historically interesting for many reasons:

Ø  Although an island setting, the natural causeway allows walking access during most years (contingent on Lake Michigan levels). A total of 40,000 guests visit annually.

Ø  Because the property has been occupied seasonally with periodic maintenance being done, it is in relatively decent shape when compared to the condition of other lighthouses.

Ø  The property has been consistently accessible throughout its history.

Ø  Steel metal sheeting encase Cana’s original Cream City brick tower; it is one of only two on the Great Lakes that has this encasement.

Ø  The only stone hexagon-shaped oil house on the Great Lakes is on Cana Island.

Ø  Cana Island’s 3rd order Fresnel lens is Wisconsin’s oldest, original and still operating lens.

Ø  The inner and outer stone wall and ornate arched gates to Lake Michigan surround the tower, keeper’s house and other existing buildings; no other Great Lakes lighthouse offers this cultural landscape.

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