MICHIGAN CITY | One of the area's most historic structures along Lake Michigan will undergo restoration.
The Lantern Room above the 1858 Lighthouse Museum in Michigan City is going to be torn down and replaced.
Nathan Anderson, zoning administrator for Michigan City, said the lantern room is a 1973 replica of the original lantern room that sits on the roof of the original lighthouse.
The roughly 13 by 13-foot lantern room is leaking and the water filtering into the lighthouse below due to major structural problems. If not corrected, it could result in permanent damage to the historic museum, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Anderson said the work will be funded with a $37,100 federal grant along with an equal sum in local matching dollars required to secure the outside dollars.
He anticipates the project being completed in October.
Anderson said caulk has been used on occasion to stops the leaks which are throughout the lantern room but that stops the flow of water for only a short time.
"It's a kind of like a ticking time bomb. Pretty soon it's not going to be able to do it anymore," said Anderson.
Towels are used to mop up the water that drips into the original structure.
He said the original lighthouse featuring a museum about the history of Michigan City is in solid shape.
LaPorte County Historian Fern Eddy Schultz said the lighthouse museum is one of the more historic structures on the Great Lakes.
It was built when Michigan City's port was used for bringing lumber, farm and other products into and out of the area by ships relying on the light shining from the lantern room to safely navigate at night.
"It told where boaters can go to stay safe," said Schultz, who added "now it's a tourist attraction. A lot of things have changed like that."
According to museum officials, the lighthouse replaced one that was built on the water's edge in 1837 and was renovated in 1904.
There were seven keepers and 14 assistant keepers at the lighthouse from 1837 to 1940, museum officials said.