Recently, the members of Hope Town’s Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society (ERLS) received some well-deserved recognition when they were photographed for inclusion in The Bahamian Project.
The Bahamian Project is a permanent collection of photographs whose objective is to recognize and honour those individuals who, through their efforts and endeavours, have formed the heart and soul of our country.
For years, the ERLS team, which includes Annie Potts, Kent Watts-LeBoutillier, Heather Forde-Prosa, Marjorie Chapman and Deborah Patterson, has worked tirelessly to protect and restore the Elbow Cay’s famous candy-striped lighthouse.
Not only is the light station one of Abaco’s most popular tourist atttractions, but it’s the only remaining hand-cranked, kerosene-burning lighthouse left on the planet.
If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend watching The Kerosene Keeper, a fascinating documentary by Bahamian filmmaker Tyler Roberts.
Roberts was documenting repairs to the lighthouse in the summer of 2019, when Hurricane Dorian ravaged Abaco. Shortly after the monster storm, he resumed filming.
The result is a glimpse into Hope Town life immediately post-Dorian, and into the challenges faced by ERLS members as they attempted to assess damage to the historic light station and re-illuminate it.
Through sheer will and resourcefulness, the ERLS was able to get the lighthouse running less than two weeks after Hurricane Dorian, providing a beacon of hope during some of Abaco’s darkest days.
Even as they’ve worked to restore their own homes and lives, the ERLS team has continued their efforts to raise funds necessary for the post-Dorian repairs. And their dedication is paying off.
Earlier this year, they received a grant from the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. The funds will pay for repairs to the station’s sophisticated Fresnel lens and original slate floors, as well as the repainting of its iconic red-and-white striped exterior.
For more information about the Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (242) 577-0542. And for latest updates, follow their Facebook page.
Congratulations to Annie, Kent, Heather, Marjorie and Deb. Thank you all for your tireless fight to preserve this vital piece of Bahamian history.