Light Station Restoration Diary
November, 2001
As written by the people working on the restoration.
Unless otherwise identified, the diary author is Linda Nenn,
co-chair of the Restoration Project


November 4, 2001

What a difference a week makes!

Last week we seemed on the cusp of winter. Cold winds, colder rains and a flurry of the white stuff thrown in for good measure. The felt on the Light Station roof was being shredded or torn off and the rains traversed the rafters seeking the lowest point to cascade onto floors below. The days beginning with a gray cast and ending on the same note. Melancholy, a word I seldom use, seemed an apt description.

Segue to yesterday. Brisk winds drying out a sodden landscape. Sunshine turning the cream city bricks into ingots of gold. Doors standing open once again to sweep out the stale air. As I drove home from the Station, Saturday's gloaming was turning to night. I realized that last week's waxing moon was now waning. I'd been too busy or too tired to catch the full moon. Just a month since the autumnal equinox and already the sun is slipping below the horizon, ever earlier, to warm the lighthouses of the southern seas a bit more each day.

No, I don't suffer from seasonal affective disorder. The week leading up to the dawn of November was just plain horrible.

The Light Station roof has been patched with rolled roofing and a generous amount of black sealing tar. Note to all you potential roofers out there. Staples do not hold down felt. Please use roofing nails in the future. The repair job cost us approx. $1,000, but it was money well spent. No enticement would have gotten me up on the scaffolding, much less the steep pitched roof, in the winds that were blowing continuously.

Visitors continue to pop in from near and far. Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois and just down the block have penned their names in our visitors' log.

Thanks, Nancy S., for spending another day pulling nails out of old attic flooring. And, it was a pleasure meeting your parents in-law. Nancy M. will be sending them a thank you for their donation just as soon as I get the check to her.

Jim Fowler: thanks for stopping at the LS and trying to help. Sorry the dust and mustiness was too much to handle. Rick and I spent time cleaning and using the shop vac, so maybe this week may be less antagonistic. Also dusted and did the laundry on Sunday, at my other house, so if you want to help paint or vacuum, you're cordially invited. I'll leave you a key, okay? Only have time for one "house" or the other, so any assistance in house keeping would be appreciated. Do you do dishes, too?

Thanks to Ron M. , Rick S., Randy and Beth Tetzlaff for giving up their Saturday to hang drywall. A dry attic, and we now have dry ceilings, too. Beth, you really showed a talent for using that power drywall screw gun. If there's anyone out there that I failed to contact regarding assisting with dry walling, painting or helping in some other way, please let me know. I'll accommodate almost anyone's schedule as long as it falls between 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Can't promise I'll actually be awake during those hours, but at least I'll open the doors for you.

Thanks to Milwaukee Electric Tools Corp. I was given the mission of finding at least 3 drywall guns, so I got on the internet, found the Milwaukee Tools number and gave them a call, followed up with a fax. Rick Ensslin, their human resources head, passed my request down the line and I was able to borrow the needed weapons. Bought one drywall screw driver myself, before Milwaukee Tools made their contribution. Just what every woman dreams of having.

Thanks to Home Depot's Ridge Miller, Asst. Manager at the Capital and PW Road store for arranging the free use, again, of a drywall jack. Handy little item to have around. My van seems to be consuming a large volume of gas retrieving these donations, but consider it my economic stimulus contribution.

The boilers have arrived at Greisch's, ready for installation. The plumbers just need to find a gap in their hectic schedule to get back to the LS. All the radiators on the second floor are placed and new copper piping installed. Regarding the heating, Wis Gas has installed the new meters at no cost to us. Harold, the brick cleaner and occasional volunteer when he sees something he can help with, has covered the meters with heavy plastic so the cleaning chemicals don't attack them.

New exterior siding has arrived and is in the garage of the generator building waiting for a coat of primer. Still have to come up with someone or some contractor willing and able to install the new casement windows and siding. Really don't have a clue yet what that will cost us. Most of the siding could be installed by volunteers, IF we had more volunteers and IF we had the scaffolding. Right now I'm trying to just find a contractor that has the time to do either or both projects. Then we'll talk about cost. Neuens is anxious to get the casement windows out of their warehouse, but we have no place to store them. As to the painting, checked with Al Schowalter to see if he had any space in his Park Street buildings for us to do the priming of windows and siding. All either currently rented or currently listed, so no luck there. Tried to enlist Al's help, but he's got so many projects going that even his totem pole has been put on hold. Ah, I love it when I say just enough to pique people's curiosity!

Contacted the building and trades organization. Asked that our Project be mentioned at their next meeting.

Checked with city building inspector to see if his wife, the state inspector, had relented on her call for fire doors in the Light Station. Dennis said her decision stands unless they hear differently from her boss, Dale Mitchell, of the Wisconsin Dept. of Commerce. Rick Bernstein of the State Historical Society has indicated his office might be able to mitigate the situation, but apparently nothing has been done in that arena. So, we wait.

Quote has come in for the Space Pak air conditioning. Total cost, except electrical, approx. $10,000 less a 17% professional discount. Have asked for a further cost breakdown to separate out the labor factor. Main ductwork will run between basement plastered ceiling and first floor joists. That is, if we decide we can afford air conditioning the museum part of the Station.

Still striking out on getting the stairs built. We have time, but really should have them in place before trying to rent out the caretaker's apartment.

Ron and Nancy S. lifted most of the attic flooring last week. Necessary to do this so we can insulate the attic. Lots of flooring and LOTS of nails. Right, Nancy?

Rick has removed my source of venting my frustrations. Since the Project began, we've had a radiator on the second floor that weighed a gazillion pounds. Really. Several helpful souls told us there was a bolt that ran the length of the radiator and that once that bolt was cut, the fins would come apart. NOT!! So, whenever I needed to relax, I'd take sledge hammer in hand and give the thing 30 whacks, just like Lizzy Borden. Well, the spoilsport finished the job for me today, so I'll have to move on to the remains of the old boiler. Haven't made a dent in it so far. Hope I beat the plumbers to it.

Called Dennis Boese of Lake Cruiser magazine to check if we'd been mentioned. We got about a page and a half write up, with pics, but I forgot to ask him which issue. Dennis has also nominated us for the Kaplan Award given by the magazine for preservation work. Winning would mean a small monetary windfall. Thanks, Dennis.

Nancy M. let me know that contributions continue to come in. October was a pretty good month. Over $5,000. Guess my pleading at the quarterly meeting helped a little. Let's work at sustaining the effort.

Stopped and talked with city manager concerning Coastal Management grant. We'll be able to submit our cancelled checks for payments made after 01 Oct 2001 for windows, ADA ramp and new entrance, and exterior facade cleaning work. Will contact Pete Paulus regarding cutting in the new entrance and brick work, including tuck pointing and replacement of the few deteriorated bricks that are showing up as the bricks are cleaned. If the weather holds, cleaning should continue this week on the east side of the Light Station.

Oh, must be going blind as I completely missed the demolition of the old Stelling Roller Mill. Once again a wonderful old building in Port Washington has been destroyed by the wrecking ball. Not a brick or stone survived. My guess is it was the oldest industrial building in the city. Wrote about it in a past issue of Historical Perspectives. The mill was part of the reason that Grand Avenue was once called Canal Street. A mill race cut off from Sauk Creek around where the Congregational Church stands. Ran behind the library site and then along the main drag, to the mill and reconnected with the creek. Why do some in our community think progress and preservation are mutually exclusive?

Must be getting the Thanksgiving mood. Many thanks in this update. I like it that way.


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This page updated Wednesday, January 23, 2002