Community funds restoration of treasured historic lighthouse

After years of work the restoration of the historic lighthouse in St Joseph, Michigan’s Tiscornia Park is complete.

Hundreds of people came to a dedication ceremony Saturday afternoon.

While GPS may be the most popular navigational tool nowadays, in St. Joseph, finding your way home looks a little different.

“This is us, this lighthouse is us. It’s in our heart, it’s in our blood. It brings us back to our past,” said Congressman Fred Upton.

And “us” is looking better than ever. After nearly 100 years, the St. Joseph Inner and Outer lights were in need of some TLC.

“Just as we would not abandon a friend in need, nor could our community abandon our lighthouse,” said St. Joseph Mayor Mike Garey.

Almost $2 million dollars was by the community to fund the renovations.

“It’s just emblematic of what this community is about. We come together, see a need and make it happen,” said St. Joseph resident Debra Berecz.

Michelle Smay, with Smay Trombley Architecture, designed the project.

 “I’ve been working on lighthouse restoration for now just over 20 years and I’ve not seen a community like St. Joseph before, to gather around and raise this kind of money. This is the largest fundraising effort I’ve seen for any lighthouse on the Great Lakes,” said Smay.

Mayor Garey says the community values the lighthouse as an icon of the city.

“You see from all the people coming out here the passion the community has for the lighthouse, and again it’s not for 2016 but for future generations to maintain the lighthouse and enjoy them for all these years,” said Garey.

The Heritage Museum & Cultural Center will be providing information soon about their upcoming historical tours of the Inner and Outer Lights.

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