Masonry Restoration at the Ponce Inlet Light Station Masonry restoration on the oil storage house, keeper dwellings, and lighthouse is completed by Federal Masonry Restoration, Inc. under the supervision of lighthouse administrative staff.
Technicians from Federal Masonry Restoration (FMR) were on site from April 12th through the 22nd to complete much needed repointing work on several of the Light Station's historic structures. Based in Millersville, MD, Federal Masonry Restoration is owned and operated by Chuck Spitznagel, a restoration specialist who has advised and trained Preservation Association staff in historic masonry repairs for many years. While on site, FMR employees spent ten days restoring masonry on the dwellings of the Principal, First Assistant, and Second Assistant keepers, the Woodshed Theater, Oil Storage Building, and the tower itself.
The most extensive repairs were focused on the Oil Storage Building which had been burned by vandals in 1970, and restored by the Preservation Association in 1989. One of the largest structures of its kind ever built by the US Light-House Establishment (Service), the Oil Storage Building was originally designed to house five gallon cans of kerosene stored on wall-mounted shelves prior to the installation of two 500-gallon oil tanks in 1927. Kerosene would remain the fuel of choice until the beacon was electrified in 1933. Exposed to the damaging effects of Florida's harsh coastal environment for more than 125 years, restoration work to the structure's masonry walls included repairs to deteriorated mortar joints and the replacement of nearly 70 fractured and eroded bricks.
Masonry restoration was also completed on the chimneys of the three keeper dwellings, the granite apron, front steps, and main entrance portico of the lighthouse tower, and the lintel over the front door of the Woodshed Theater. As with the Oil Storage Building, technicians from FMR inspected the masonry work of each structure and conducted necessary repairs. Failed mortar joints were cleaned out and re-pointed using mortar formulated specifically for the Ponce Inlet Light Station, bricks were replaced as needed, and the flashing around each chimney at the roof line were re-affixed to prevent water damage to the building interiors. In accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's established standards for the restoration and preservation, every effort was made to repair each structure's original materials rather than removing and replacing them. When forced to remove historic bricks due to extensive deterioration, replacement bricks of a similar age, size, and coloration were installed in their stead in an effort to maintain each building's historic authenticity.