If you’ve been by the Bodie Island Lighthouse in Nags Head recently, you must have noticed the empty lantern room. The first-order Fresnel lens was removed during October ’09 by lens curators of the Lighthouse Lamp Shop Nearly two weeks of preparation were required before any actual lens removal happened. The central dioptric (refracting) panels were the first to come away followed by the lower catadioptric panels ("cats" refract and reflect) and finally the upper cats.
Four men from Lighthouse Lamp Shot manhandled the catadioptric panels, each weighing about 150 pounds, which is tricky business. The irreplaceable crown-glass panels must be maneuvered from the lens frame in the tight space of the lantern room without damaging the prisms on the metal lens frame, doorknobs, or ironwork. The panels are snugly fitted into wooden crates.
After the panels were secured in crates, each was lowered 150 feet to ground level by cables. They were then taken to a National Park Service facility where Outer Banks Lighthouse Society volunteers cleaned and polished them. The panels were again packed and stored. They will be re-assembled at the lighthouse after the tower is restored, about a 2-year process. The lens will be relighted at a less intense brightness; the tower will be open to visitors for climbing sometime in 2011.
Photos and Information by Kim Fahlen
More information on the Bodie Island Lighthouse Restoration is available in the following article. Simply click below ....