We all have passions in our lives – the things that motivate us to ultimately make a difference in this world. The Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light (FFGL) share a passion for the Fort Gratiot Light Station County Park and it has exhibited itself in many ways over the years. At first, the focus was financial to support restoration on the oldest lighthouse in Michigan, our own Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. Once that goal was met, the focus shifted to the other historic buildings and the grounds of the park. This created a growing opportunity for volunteers to fulfill their passion by continuing fundraising along with supplying physical labor and guidance in the restoration effort. This has recently led to the Equipment Building (current Port Huron Museum gift shop) being fully restored and a restored dining room in the Keeper’s Duplex.
With the gradual change in focus, the FFGL realized that greater fundraising and friendraising efforts were needed. To accomplish this goal, the FFGL have decided to shift from a committee of the Port Huron Museum to an independent, member-driven organization that will work more closely with St. Clair County Parks & Recreation Commission (PARC) to continue restoration efforts at the park. This transition was unanimously supported by the Port Huron Museum Board at our December 7, 2016 Board meeting.
The Museum will continue to be a valued partner with PARC and the FFGL by providing tours, programming, gift shop and interpretation of exhibits and restoration assistance.
The FFGL will no longer operate with a paid membership structure. The new motto of the FFGL is “Donate What You Can, When You Can.” So a donation of your time, talent or treasure to feed your passion is all that’s required to call yourself a member of the Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light – in other words, a Friend of the park. The Museum will continue to honor all current FFGL memberships and associated benefits through the membership expiration date.
Another exciting change to note for the FFGL is the creation of a new fund at the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. The Fort Gratiot Light Station Fund, established with money raised through events like Blue Water SandFest, will provide an opportunity for friends, donors, businesses and the general public to support the long term restoration and interpretation efforts of the historic buildings and grounds of the park.
The fund recently received a $13,550 matching grant from the Gerry Kramer Spartan Fund for restoration of three porches on the Keeper’s Duplex and the restoration of the lakeside entrance to the Single Keeper’s Dwelling, which is occurring now. Additional restoration and interpretation work is anticipated this winter on the kitchen and pantry of the Keeper’s Duplex so donations would be much appreciated by the FFGL.
If you are passionate about the park restoration work and wish to make a donation, please visit the Community Foundation’s website www.stclairfoundation.org or mail a check payable to the Community Foundation, 500 Water Street, Port Huron MI 48060 and note Fort Gratiot Light Station Fund on the memo line.
Those wishing to volunteer labor and talent for work projects are invited to contact Kathy Duffy (firstname.lastname@example.org or 810-385-2966).
And people wishing to volunteer for the Museum serving as tour guide docents or to help in the gift shop for the 2017 season should contact Gina Porrett at the Museum (email@example.com or 810-982-0891, ext. 118).
Finally, we heartily thank the FFGL for their dedication and effort with the park we so proudly share. Please join us in extending our best wishes to their group for continued success.