February 27th, 2024

SHLP Co-Founders Gary Kalan and Brendan McGee share their findings from the first visual inspection of the Stamford Harbor Lighthouse.

Historic Gateway

At the gates of Stamford Harbor stands a historic but deteriorated 142-year-old lighthouse that we believe should be restored to reflect the vibrant and prosperous harbor city of Stamford CT. In late 2023, The Stamford Harbor Lighthouse Project (SHLP) officially acquired the forgotten structure and its surrounding 10 acres of submerged land with this very goal in mind. From the moment we acquired it, we couldn’t wait to open up this real-life time capsule and go inside to see what we would find. Abandoned since the 1950s and untouched since the 1980s, we knew we would find some deteriorating conditions, but we weren’t sure what surprises we might discover.

Lighthouse Entryway

Despite finding the exterior landing and staircase to be in immediate need of repair, we were able to safely navigate our way inside.

SHLP Co-Founder Brendan McGee on the exterior staircase.

Interior Findings

Stepping into the Stamford Lighthouse for the first time, we were struck by the surprisingly well-preserved interior. Despite years of abandonment, the bones of the structure have held strong.

First-floor galley and staircase. 

We were surprised to find the stairwell brick to be in such good condition, with the potential for it to be preserved. We also were expecting to see signs of tidal water infiltration and damage, but what we found was a dry basement, though the mechanicals showed their age and will be in need of replacement.

SHLP Co-Founder and President Gary Kalan on the staircase to the upper tower.

Moving to the upper levels, all the woodwork was essentially intact, but not in salvageable condition. However, we were thrilled to find that the Victorian-era cast iron railings and the intricate brick inlays trimming the window frames are in restorable condition.

Carlton and David from Blue Flame Fabrication inspect the upper tower interior.

Exterior Findings

Moving outside, the canopy covering the main galley level appears to be structurally intact. Since it is rare to find an original canopy still in place on a sparkplug lighthouse, this is a unique and exciting restoration opportunity to preserve the character and history of the Stamford Harbor Lighthouse.

The original canopy over the main galley.

The main exterior tower is in great shape, and is only in need of professional painting. The two-inch thick cast iron caisson, while showing clear signs of surface rust and some minor joint separations, appears to be structurally intact, providing a solid foundation to start with for our restoration efforts.

The exterior tower and cast iron window casing.

First Impressions

In summary, we found a lot of what we were expecting to find during this first visual inspection, but we also found many opportunities to repair and restore what already exists, which was very encouraging. What was once considered “possibly condemned” seems now to be “possible to complete”.

The Stamford Harbor Lighthouse Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is restoring, preserving, and protecting the historic Stamford Harbor Lighthouse for generations to come.

Learn more about our organization’s mission and our restoration plans for the Stamford Harbor Lighthouse.

SHLP Co-Founders Gary Kalan and Brendan McGee share their findings from the first visual inspection of the Stamford Harbor Lighthouse.

Historic Gateway

At the gates of Stamford Harbor stands a historic but deteriorated 142-year-old lighthouse that we believe should be restored to reflect the vibrant and prosperous harbor city of Stamford CT. In late 2023, The Stamford Harbor Lighthouse Project (SHLP) officially acquired the forgotten structure and its surrounding 10 acres of submerged land with this very goal in mind. From the moment we acquired it, we couldn’t wait to open up this real-life time capsule and go inside to see what we would find. Abandoned since the 1950s and untouched since the 1980s, we knew we would find some deteriorating conditions, but we weren’t sure what surprises we might discover.

Lighthouse Entryway

Despite finding the exterior landing and staircase to be in immediate need of repair, we were able to safely navigate our way inside.

SHLP Co-Founder Brendan McGee on the exterior staircase.

Interior Findings

Stepping into the Stamford Lighthouse for the first time, we were struck by the surprisingly well-preserved interior. Despite years of abandonment, the bones of the structure have held strong.

First-floor galley and staircase. 

We were surprised to find the stairwell brick to be in such good condition, with the potential for it to be preserved. We also were expecting to see signs of tidal water infiltration and damage, but what we found was a dry basement, though the mechanicals showed their age and will be in need of replacement.

SHLP Co-Founder and President Gary Kalan on the staircase to the upper tower.

Moving to the upper levels, all the woodwork was essentially intact, but not in salvageable condition. However, we were thrilled to find that the Victorian-era cast iron railings and the intricate brick inlays trimming the window frames are in restorable condition.

Carlton and David from Blue Flame Fabrication inspect the upper tower interior.

Exterior Findings

Moving outside, the canopy covering the main galley level appears to be structurally intact. Since it is rare to find an original canopy still in place on a sparkplug lighthouse, this is a unique and exciting restoration opportunity to preserve the character and history of the Stamford Harbor Lighthouse.

The original canopy over the main galley.

The main exterior tower is in great shape, and is only in need of professional painting. The two-inch thick cast iron caisson, while showing clear signs of surface rust and some minor joint separations, appears to be structurally intact, providing a solid foundation to start with for our restoration efforts.

The exterior tower and cast iron window casing.

First Impressions

In summary, we found a lot of what we were expecting to find during this first visual inspection, but we also found many opportunities to repair and restore what already exists, which was very encouraging. What was once considered “possibly condemned” seems now to be “possible to complete”.

The Stamford Harbor Lighthouse Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is restoring, preserving, and protecting the historic Stamford Harbor Lighthouse for generations to come.

Learn more about our organization’s mission and our restoration plans for the Stamford Harbor Lighthouse.

Save Stamford Lighthouse!

Join us today in restoring, preserving, and protecting this icon of American Maritime history.
Current and future generations will thank you!