Repairing the missing leg of the Sanibel Lighthouse

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

The Sanibel Lighthouse took a beating during Hurricane Ian, to the point it lost a leg, but the island is working to get the bright light on once again.

While the lighthouse is no longer missing a leg since a temporary fix was set in place. Holly Smith, the mayor of Sanibel, called it a ‘cast’ a sign of healing, a symbol of hope, people on Sanibel really appreciate it.

The temporary leg being used on the Sanibel Lighthouse. CREDIT: Belfor Property Restoration

This week, crews put in a temporary support shaft to support the Sanibel Lighthouse after Hurricane Ian tore one of the legs off.

“We’re kind of calling it a cast, and the cast is healing,” Smith said. “So, we’re really excited to see that next step come over here for the healing of our lighthouse.”

Smith told WINK News it’s part of the city’s plan to restore the 102-foot-tall lighthouse to its immaculate self.

“We see progress every day on this island, and I know the world is also watching our lighthouse, which is just a beacon and an icon,” Smith said.

The Sanibel Lighthouse. CREDIT: WINK News

The 138-year-old lighthouse took the worst of the storm and refused to crumble under the weight and force of Hurricane Ian.

The support shaft that was put in place after Ian is only a temporary solution until the missing leg is replaced for good.

David Hare is a Sanibel contractor and homeowner, he took a few minutes to speak with WINK News about the lighthouse.

“Oh, that’s just the first step. It needs a good power washing and sandblasting and painting, and really going all out,” Hare said. “So, it doesn’t just have a temporary leg but to make sure it’s structurally intact for future generations.”

While the city is doing everything to restore the lighthouse, the mayor wants everyone to know something very important.

“We’re asking people to look from afar. Respect what we’re trying to do as we’re trying to get it (the island) ready again. We don’t know when that date is gonna be,” Smith said. “We look forward to welcoming everybody back… it’s just not the time and the foreseeable future…”

The Sanibel Lighthouse with the temporary leg. CREDIT: WINK News

Smith told WINK News when Sanibel is ready for everyone, she will be there to welcome visitors with open arms.

For the time being, if you try to go to the lighthouse, you’ll run into signs that say ‘beach closed’, and be warned, police patrol the park.

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