A Press Release from New London Maritime Society
On Monday, September 9, New London Mayor Daryl Finizio will be guest of honor as the New London Maritime Society-Custom House Maritime Museum officially christens two eight-foot shallow-water marine buoys installed at the Bank Street museum.
Placement of the buoys has been a year-long project of NLMS museum trustee Jennifer Hillhouse. Ms Hillhouse saw buoys installed at other maritime sites and thought something similar in front the Custom House would make the sober, Greek-revival, granite building look 'more like a museum and less like a bank!'
With the help of local mariner Patrick Kennedy, Jennifer Hillhouse found the pair of 1992 Type 3.5X8LC buoys through GSA surplus in South Weymouth, Massachusetts. By her determined efforts, and with the kind intervention of Senator Andrea Stillman, the buoys were transported to Connecticut, stripped, cleaned and repainted—with USCG decals applied; remarkably, all the work and materials to cart and restore the buoys was donated!
Faced with the expensive prospect of creating two concrete pedestals for the buoys to sit on, in February, 2013, the New London Maritime Society turned to the City of New London's Facade Improvement Program. This program, administered by Ned Hammond, the City's Economic Development Coordinator, helps fund improvements to the street-side 'face' of downtown businesses. The buoy application went by the Facade Program's Review Committee, which contributed a number of excellent suggestions to improve the base design, and last week two round, black-dyed concrete bases were poured by contractor Jon Graziano.
The twin red and green buoys will be set in position early Sunday morning, September 8. The official christening is set to take place Monday, September 9 at 10 a.m. A party for all involved in the buoy production is scheduled to be held at the Custom House Maritime Museum later this month.
NLMS thanks the many volunteers, who donated both their time and materials to this effort: Odd Brevik (New England Pump & Valve), USCG Chief Raymond Casher, Mark Ferriera (GSA), Robert Getman, Job Grazioano, Ned Hammond & the New London Facade Committee, Jeff Hedberg (Sherwin Williams), Ken Hillhouse, Mike Hillhouse, USCG Senior Chief Mary Kathleen McSweeney, Daniel Miller, Ray Miller & staff (USCG buoy depot, South Weymouth, MA), James Salmon (City of New London Building Inspector), Senator Andrea Stillman, Jamie Taft (Pittsburgh Paint), Bob Thomas (Ring's End Paint), and--most of all--Jennifer Hillhouse, NLMS trustee and leader of this project.
The New London Maritime Society - Custom House Maritime Museum, which now owns both Pequot and Race Rock Lights, currently is developing its exhibition about area lighthouses and other Aids to Navigation; among these 'other aids' are beacons, light ships, fog horns and buoys. In fact, in the mid-20th century, New London's Custom House Pier was home to the USCG buoy tender Redwood, which kept dozens of assorted buoys stacked out behind the Custom House on the pier.
The September 9 buoy-christening event is part of NLMS's 30th Anniversary Celebration; it also marks the official launch of the museum's 2013 Fall Season.