Updated: Jan 21, 2021
When I purchased the lighthouse in 2011, there was very little left inside. There was no furniture, plumbing, sinks, toilets, doors, kitchen items or personal belongings. Just about everything that could be carried off was – either officially by the US Coast Guard after the last keepers left around 1948 or unofficially as vandals broke the windows, gained access, and helped themselves.
One thing that was left behind was a pair of old, flimsy sawhorses. Who knows why they were left behind – perhaps so the Coast Guard had a semblance of a work surface for repairs, or maybe they were just pathetic enough that nobody wanted them? But I loved them. They were a stark reminder to me of the history and working purpose of the lighthouse. While rickety, they had a beautiful patina and soft worn edges. But what should I do with them?
Clearly, they were not the kind of rustic chic pieces that would double as much-needed furniture, although they seemed to hold up to the challenge of being used to sit upon. Ultimately, I decided the right place for them would be outside on the Southwest corner of the lighthouse platform. Their new home provided the perfect site from which to watch the sunset.
But there was still something missing. The sawhorses needed to be brought back to life. They needed a little color to energize their faded gray frames. So, I hired an artist to paint them. I wanted something added that would make a statement yet complement their previous life at the lighthouse and their new life at what I called “Sunset Point.”
The only direction I gave the artist, Marie Kozan, was that I wanted something that would represent the sun and daytime on one, and the moon, stars, and night sky on the other. For several weeks, Marie trudged out to the lighthouse with her paints and brushes to transform the sawhorses.
What she created was nothing short of amazing. One was covered in a bright orange and yellow smiling sun embedded with a small picture of the front of both lighthouses of Fairport Harbor and an outline of the state of Ohio. Below the whimsical sun was a happy sailboat streaming across the placid water of Lake Erie. She painted the legs with delicate flowers growing up the sides.
The night-time sawhorse had an image of a crescent moon with a sleepy expression surrounded by twinkling stars and planets, a nautical compass and a dark purple sky. The crescent moon was holding a chain with an anchor that reached down to the beach. Both sawhorses were bedazzled with small bits of beach glass and many coats of varnish to protect them from the unpredictable weather. They now serve as a gathering place to watch nature’s beauty each evening -- a new life they desperately needed.