Grand Manan’s Swallowtail Lighthouse tower has a fresh coat of paint thanks to an Island-wide volunteer effort spearheaded by the Rotary Club.

“The year 2005 will mark the 100th anniversary of Rotary International,” said Andy Daggett, who also serves as Grand Manan Village Manager. “Each Rotary club was asked to take on a ‘Centennial Project’ to celebrate the anniversary. These projects were to be local in nature and hands-on. The Rotary Club of Grand Manan decided to make painting Swallowtail their Centennial Project.”

Daggett, who calls the 144-year-old lighthouse “an island icon,” said that the project was a lot more than just painting. “For one thing, it took about four months to get all the paperwork in order because the property is owned by the federal government and they were concerned with liability issues.”

Because the Rotary Club realized that the logistics of painting the tower “were beyond our capabilities, we hired a contractor, Doug Tatton, and his company, A Real Good Painter, to oversee the Project.”

Daggett noted that because of Swallowtail’s remote location and the lack of a road, all the equipment, including staging, had to be walked in. “This was where a lot of people pitched in,” he said. “And volunteers cooked meals for the crew every day.”

He added that work was completed between September 20th and 25th. “The work volunteers were all from the Island, but we got contributions from off-islanders as well.”

Daggett said the club is still seeking donations “and if enough money is raised, we’re considering taking on more restoration projects at Swallowtail including foundation work and possible structural restoration.”

He added that preserving the lighthouse is essential to maintaining the island culture. “It’s the first thing you see when you come to Grand Manan Island. It’s the first image that really burns into your memory and the last image when you’re leaving the island.”

Swallowtail Light was built at the northern end of Grand Manan Island in 1860. It shows a fixed light, visible for 17 miles, extending 148 feet above the sea.