Restoration of New York City’s Titanic Memorial Lighthouse moves forward

January 9, 2023

Photo courtesy of Friends of the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse

Plans to restore New York City’s Titanic Memorial Lighthouse are moving forward. Built in 1913 to honor those who died aboard the Titanic, the 60-foot-tall lighthouse featured a working “time ball” that dropped down the pole each day, along with a green light. After a four-year campaigna request for proposals has been issued to restore the monument to its original working condition.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. (1915). Seamen’s Church Institute of New York, 25 South Street

Designed by Warren and Wetmore, the architects behind Grand Central Terminal, the memorial was installed on top of the Seamen’s Church Institute at 25 South Street one year after the April 15, 1912 shipwreck. The lighthouse was fully functioning, with a time ball that would drop each day to signal noon to ships in the harbor.

As 6sqft previously reported, the memorial also radiated a green light that could be seen throughout the Harbor and as far as Sandy Hook.

Following the demolition of the Seamen’s Church Institute in the late 1960s, the lighthouse was donated to the South Street Seaport Museum and installed at its current location at Fulton and Water Streets in 1976.

For the last four years, the Friends of Titanic Memorial Lighthouse, a group made up of preservationists and descendants of passengers and crew who were aboard the Titanic, have campaigned for the restoration of the monument to its original working condition.

The Seaport Museum recently issued a request for proposals seeking architects to provide “architectural and preservation services,” including the protection of the exterior and interior lighting so it can be lit again. In addition to cleaning, repairing, and painting the concrete base, the selected firm will also have to develop signage for the public artifact.

According to the RFP, proposals were due on Friday, January 6; the museum states it’s interested in working with an architect who can start work immediately. Part of the process will require approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

In an update on its GoFundMe page, which was created in January 2021 to raise funds for the memorial renovation, Friends of the Titanic Lighthouse Restoration wrote: “Titanic descendants look forward to engaging with architects and the museum and being included, much like the 9/11 Memorial process. Family voices must rightly be heard as to where the 1,496 names will be inscribed, and what rededication services may be held.”

The group added: “This is the beginning of the restoration journey, but we are one step closer to raising the new tower as a Beacon of Hope at its riverside location as its history and function demand.”

The group still hopes to add the lighthouse to the National Register of Historic Places to “honor the 1,496 passengers and crew who perished when RMS Titanic sank on April 15, 1912.”


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