Toledo Harbor Lighthouse's first-floor windows are blocked up and curved acrylic panels have replaced French glass in the lantern room.
Spiders are the main occupants of the 106-year-old Romanesque structure that marks where the shallower Maumee Bay meets Lake Erie.
Members of the nonprofit Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Society, which has owned the lighthouse for about three years, hope to start reversing those unkempt conditions next year. About $1.5 million in grant money needs to be secured to get the renovation project underway so society "keepers" can take turns staying there and giving tours, said Sandy Bihn, society president.
"It's doable, and it's in good, stable shape," Mrs. Bihn said while enjoying the view on a railed walkway around the lighthouse's lantern room on a recent trip with contractors and others.
Said Gary Ashford of Duket Architects Planners in Toledo: "It was built for permanence, and it was built with care. … It's been untouched for 50 years, except for a little stabilizing work done 20 years ago."
The lighthouse's original Fennel lens, which was rotated by a weighted clockwork mechanism and is now on display at Maumee Bay State Park's lodge, could be seen from up to 24 miles away.
"We had to wash down the cobwebs and spiderwebs about once a week," recalled Robert Nixon of Fremont, an 80-year-old society member and Navy and Coast Guard veteran who was stationed at the lighthouse in the late 1950s.
He preferred playing host to visitors.
"It was always nice to have some company," he said.
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