JOHNSON LAKE – Mission accomplished.
Passionate tub-thumping by organizers and a coalition of support from business and industry, chambers of commerce, individual donors and Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District has turned the trick; there will be a new lighthouse atop the rock jetty that protects Lakeview Acres at Johnson Lake.
The popular recreation and housing area south of Lexington is on property owned by CNPPID headquartered in Holdrege. Without the utility board’s blessing nothing would have been accomplished. Not to worry, though, CNPPID not only gave its blessing this past summer for the structure to be on its land, it also contributed site preparation and construction of the concrete base upon which then New England style, Bodie Island lighthouse replica will stand sentinel both day and night for decades to come.
The lighthouse, which the Johnson Lake version replicates, was originally constructed by act of Congress in 1837 on the Outer Banks in North Carolina. In 1859 the Bodie Island Lighthouse, by then deteriorated, was replaced with a higher tower of 80 feet. In the fall of 1861, however, Confederate troops blew it to pieces. The third iteration seen on the Outer Banks today was completed a decade later in 1871.
Cinde Wendell, a project leader and Lakeview Acres resident, said, “Through Give Big Lexington and the Lexington Community Foundation, $8,900 was raised last week.”
She added, “This Johnson Lake lighthouse,” like all lighthouses, “has turned out to be a beacon of light and hope when needed most. It certainly has been a positive project during a crazy 2020.”
Lakeview Acres folks donated another $2,000 and other users of Johnson Lake and lighthouse enthusiasts kicked in some $2,500 more. Another $2,500 was raised by the Johnson Lake Chamber of Commerce which will serve as fiscal agent for the project.
Project goals include:
Improve safety for boaters and lake users.
Enhance and improve beauty of the lake and jetty.
Provide a landmark easily seen and navigated to, day or night, by boaters on the lake.
Strengthen positive relationships through CNNPID, Johnson Lake residents and community businesses working together.
“The plan now is to order the lighthouse from the Lighthouse Authority in Pennsylvania to be delivered in March,” said Wendell in her update. “The site preparation and concrete work is also scheduled for March.”
This new lighthouse will be similar to one already in place on the jetty at Mallard Beach. It will feature a neighbor-friendly solar light and stand some 16 feet high beside the Nautical Rose Restaurant and Lakeshore Marina that granted permission for access across its property to the installation site.