Anyone wishing to replicate Tom Hanks' famed scene from "Forrest Gump" by running along the walkway at Marshall Point Light during the last month may have been disappointed to find it closed — for a good cause.

The National Historic Landmark has been getting a much-needed facelift.

Marshall Point Light, built in 1858, has more than 15,000 visitors between Memorial Day and Columbus Day each year. The original, which was positioned on land and built in 1832, burned.

Last year, the Marshall Point Lighthouse & Museum Committee had the kitchen roof repaired. This year, it was time to refurbish the lighthouse and walkway.

"It's like refurbishing the Statue of Liberty, only it's the statue of Marshall Point," Nat Lyon, curator of MPLM, said.

Weather delayed the start of the project until Oct. 5, and has played a major interrupting role since. However, Joe Pagano of Advanced Painting and Andy Mathieson of Aqua Terra Vapor Blasting have been diligent about the task at hand, Lyon said.

Pagano used a bleach rub to kill lichen and mold on the railings, while Mathieson worked at blasting the supports.

Visitors from the National Lighthouse Society, however, were able to visit the tower on Oct. 7.

Flaking and rusting of the painted metal surrounding the lighthouse was of major concern, according to Mark Bartholmew, a member of the MPLM Committee. "It's fairly extensive," he said.

Below layers of various paint is a layer that contains lead, however, the contractors are experienced and licensed to deal with the material.

Bartholmew explained the process they use is called a wet blast and garnet dust. The residue will be encapsulated and the contractor will take care of its disposal.

"We're not worried about the lead," he said, "just worried about preserving the whole building."

He said the process will take all the paint off, down to the bare metal, then an epoxy will be applied that must cure, then the painting will take place.

"Phase II will be to get the Coast Guard to do the inside, which shouldn't be a problem, as it's not weather-dependent," Bartholmew said.

The light was replaced with an LED light last March, and the light that had been in place since 1971 was salvaged and is on display in the museum. Being an onshore light, it does not blink or rotate 360 degrees — it remains constant.

Lyon said the Coast Guard has changed the method by which foghorns are employed. They are now keyed by the boats on their VHF radio, because the company that made the part went out of business.

The bell from the original bell tower is still on the property. In bad weather it would ping every four seconds; however, the lighthouse keeper had to rewind it every four and a half hours, Lyon said.

The estimated cost of the project is $16,000 to $18,000, according to Lyon. "This may sound steep, but on the positive side, this is work that will not be required again in our lifetime, and we are in time to avoid bigger problems," Lyon said.

The next project is already under way, as the MPLM committee is conducting a fundraising campaign to expand the facility to include a reproduction of the historic keeper's barn and workshop that was part of the lighthouse complex for more than 74 years until it was taken down by the Coast Guard in 1971.

Working with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to ensure the authenticity of the barn, the committee has pledged $20,000 toward the goal of $150,000 for the project.

The barn will provide space for the proper storage of artifacts and display materials, as well as much-needed administrative space.

During the month-long restoration effort, the committee was informed it will receive a $10,000 grant from the Borman Family Foundation in support of the reconstruction of the keeper’s barn and workshop.

The barn will be historically correct and built on the original site adjacent to the lighthouse and museum.

As of Nov. 3, the amount raised was $55,000.

For information on how to support the project, visit

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at