As a symbol, the Jones Point Lighthouse represents Alexandria’s legacy as a port city. But as a building, it’s in rough shape.
The wooden lighthouse is described by the National Park Service website as “one of the last riverine lighthouses in the country,” as well as a “focal point of Jones Point Park and a clue to the area’s history as a busy commercial center and naval base.” But the building itself is in rough shape. Grime coats the outside of the structure and there’s visible damage to parts of the building. The interior is unfinished, so visitors aren’t allowed inside due to safety concerns.
In a meeting of the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission Advocacy Committee last month, committee members said that they’ve been pushing for the city and the National Park Service (NPS), on whose and the lighthouse sits, to do something to fix up the building.
“The advocacy committee prepared a decisively coherent letter on Jones Point,” said Chair Danny Smith. “We did send that it to the City Council and to the Mayor at the beginning of December. Within a day we had responses from the Mayor and City Manager.”
Smith said Mayor Justin Wilson told him that he’d get back in touch with the National Park Service to ask about near-term restoration or at least better maintenance, and City Manager Mark Jinks said staff would visit the site and do a visual assessment of its condition.
“I think we got their attention on that and have made some headway,” Smith said.
NPS spokesman Aaron LaRocca said has invested in the lighthouse before and has proposed additional work, but has had issues with funding.
“Approximately 10 years ago the NPS invested over $600,000 in the lighthouse including work on the stairs, porch and roof,” LaRocca said. “We currently have a proposed project for additional work, including exterior maintenance and interior restoration. However, it has not yet been funded. We recognize the need for ongoing maintenance of the facility, some of which is routine maintenance and some of which is more significant.”
LaRocca said the NPS is starting to work on interim maintenance measures until funding for more comprehensive repairs can be secured.
“Park staff are taking steps to develop interim maintenance measures for the site and building with a newly established park strike team,” Larocca said. “This team, made up of subject matter experts, will identify and execute routine maintenance activities at the Jones Point Lighthouse.”
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