Hudson-Athens Lighthouse

Capital Foundation Restoration Project
Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society


The repair to the foundation of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse's foundation which could not be postponed was completed in November 2008. The reconstruction plans were developed by Crawford & Associates Engineerng, P.C., 551 Warren Street, Hudson, New York 12534. The actual work was completed by Eastern State Construction Company, Inc., 4 Old Stone Road, Valley Cottage, New York in November, 2008.

The work that was completed in 2008 included mobilization of a work station, an initial underwater inspection by Eastern States, the selective demolition and evacuation of piles, the repair of 37 timber piles, the repair of timber pile caps, and the repair of timber stringers. The south-eastern granite corner stone which has been held in place by cables was jacked back into place.

Through financial contributions, legislative initiatives from Senator Seward, fund raisers, and grants from community organizations and interested citizens, including the Second Grade classes of the Coxsackie-Athens Elementary School , over one-hundred thousand dollars was raised to match the $200,000 grant from New York State Office of Parks and Recreation . The total cost of the project including engineering costs is approximately three-hundred and ninety thousand dollars. The Bank of Greene County has granted a mortgage to the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society . Therefore, your FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE HUDSON-ATHENS LIGHTOUSE CONSTRUCTION FOUNDATION PROJECT ARE DESPARATELY NEEDED TO MEET THE MORTGAGE PAYMENTS EACH MONTH. Please make checks payable to HALPS, and send them to P.O. Box 145, Athens, New York 12015, or use the Pay Pal arrangement of this site. Thank you for helping to preserve Hudson-River History.

January 2008

Lighthouse Preservation

Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Foundation and Stabilization & Reinforcement Project

The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse is one-hundred and thirty three years old. Steps and measures need to be taken to preserve any house wherever it is located. The unique location of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, in the middle of the Hudson River, makes monumental demands on its owners for the house's preservation. The age of the house, the currents, the tides, the wakes of passing boats, the rushing spring flood waters, and the ice flows in 136 year winters have, and continue to compromise the foundation of the historic structure.

The house is overall in good condition and it is safe for visitors. Visitors remark about the beauty of the house and its remarkable condition. Their comments are appreciated. It is because the foundation problems are below the water line that the problems are usually not observed by the visitors. However, the deterioration of the foundation elements continue to proceed with each passing season and it is anticipated that, within ten years, the extent of weather and ice damage to the remaining supporting pier members which have not been repaired will be so extensive as to actively threaten the continuing existence of the structure. A sheet piling must be installed to protect the foundation.

The completed part of the restoration project involved stabilization of the foundation timber cribbing and piles and reinforcement of the foundation against ice impact. The identified piles were repaired by installing plastic sleeves and injecting epoxy grout. The deteriorated or broken pile caps and stringers were replaced with like kind. The deteriorated bed joints of the granite base will need to be repointed.

The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society is a 501(c) 3 not for profit corporation. We depend almost entirely on the generosity of private foundations and individual contributors.

If you would like to take part in our mission, please respond generously! Make your check payable to:

H.A.L.P.S. Membership

and mail to:

Hudson-Athens Lighthouse
P.O. Box 145
Athens, NY 12015


or click on the "Donation" button to make a contribution online with PayPal or your credit card. This will bring up a new page for you to submit information.

Contributions in any amount, large or small, are appreciated, and help demonstrate your commitment to this historic structure. If you would like to chose an amount larger or smaller than the above, click this button and enter the amount you would like to donate:

Please call (518.828.5294) or write to learn more about how your larger donation ($5000 and up) or endowment can be used to preserve the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. The lighthouse needs your help! Won't you consider a contribution to the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society?


   Hudson-Catskill Newspapers, September 25, 2007

An underwater wooden fence will be erected around two sides of the timber piles that are the main support of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, engineer Dan Proper said recently. But the measure is only a temporary fix, he said, to prevent further scouring and exposure of the piles. Erosion of the building’s supports has resulted in widening cracks in the foundation and walls.

An underwater investigation of the situation was conducted by Crawford & Associates Engineering and Seaway Diving & Salvage Co. Aug. 30 and 31. The term “scouring” refers to the removal by the water of the sediment that surrounds and supports the piles. Proper said the divers were at work for two eight-hour days. “They went down and took complete measurements of the underside of the foundation,” he said. Thirty timber beams and 54 piles were assessed. “We discovered quite a bit of scouring going on,” Proper said. “The amount of area [exposed] has doubled since 2004.” Southern-facing piles that had been covered by sediment up to 2 1/2 feet below the base of the lighthouse now have 6 1/2 feet showing. In those three years, the number of exposed piles has increased from 38 to 54. Of those 54, 10 were assessed as severely damaged and deteriorated, and 22 were found to have poor bearing conditions, with minor deterioration.

Laid across the tops of the piles are timber beams known as the pile caps. Nineteen were inspected: Eight were cracked and damaged by moving ice, and three evidenced fungi deterioration. Laid crosswise across the pile caps are 11 timber beams, called stringers, that support the granite foundation. Three of the stringers were found to be severely damaged and two suffered minor fungi deterioration. Proper said the damage has “increased substantially since the 2004 inspection. As with any structure of this type, the rate of decay will increase exponentially as the problems worsen.” In addition, the rip rap that once surrounded the lighthouse and provided protection for the piles and sediment has been washed away. “Now the piles are more directly supporting the base, as opposed to the sediment,” Proper said. Support is provided by the 425 piles, but they are highly susceptible to deterioration from ice in the winter months, he said.

The Hudson Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society holds a $200,000 grant from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and a $20,000 member initiative from Sen. James Seward, R,I,C-Oneonta. In addition to the recent investigation, the money will go to stabilizing the timber portion of the work. “We’ll reinforce it so it can handle the additional removal of sediment,” he said. Now that the field inspection is complete, Proper said, stabilization plans will be drawn up and bidding will begin in November, for construction starting in 2008.

Erosion would be impeded by installation of a temporary timber curtain, or underwater fence, that would help direct the current around the house, Proper said. “But it’s all temporary measures,” he said. “The real, foolproof method would be to put steel piling in. Steel piling would be a more permanent, long-term stabilization measure. A timber curtain is temporary: It wouldn’t be able to handle the yearly beating.” The timber curtain could “easily be wiped out” by a severe winter, but could sustain winters like the last five, he said. The steel piling would be part of the second phase of restoration Proper is looking forward to. Also in Phase II would be replacement of the sediment and rip rap, and hopefully, Proper said, reinforcement of the building itself.

The society raises funds for the lighthouse’s operating costs in part through its tours of the building, which cost $20 for adults and $10 for children. Half of the money raised goes for a donation to the society for its work, and half goes to pay for the tour boat. This year’s final tour is Oct. 13. Boats leave from Athens and Hudson. It is recommended to call ahead for space reservations as well as schedules, though walk-ons are accepted.

Damage to Foundation of Lighthouse
Damage to foundation of Lighthouse

Damage to Foundation of Lighthouse
Damage to foundation of Lighthouse

Painting the Trim of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse
Painting the trim of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse with help from the Hudson Correctional Facility.

Painting the Trim of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse
Painting the trim of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. Scaffolding was transported by boat and erected by members.

Dedicated member hangs over the side of the lighthouse go check the cable installation for securing the granite corner unit.
Steve Sigler, lighthouse preservation member, hangs over the side of the lighthouse to check the cable installation for securing a loose granite unit.

Lighthouse Preservation member checks under the foundation for problems.
Bob Ihlenburg, lighthouse preservation member, checks under the foundation for problems.

Members install cables to hold south-east granite foundatioin unit in place.
Members Joe Kenneally and Bob Ihlenburgh install cables to hold south-east granite foundatioin unit in place.

Members install manufactured support to hold granite unit in place before the winter.  (fall 2006)
Members install manufactured support to hold granite unit in place before the winter. (fall 2006)

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