It’s finally out!!….
On May 16th, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation released a terrific new video highlighting Rock Island Lighthouse State Park, near Fisher’s Landing, in the Thousand Islands region. The lighthouse was chosen as one of three sites across the state to be featured in a new series entitled “We Are New York” created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act this year.
Rock Island reopened to the public in 2013 after years of extensive preservation and restoration efforts by the State, and I was lucky enough to provide text and photographs from my research for the permanent exhibits.
The video series was conceived by Austin O’Brien and Cordell Reaves with the Office of Historic Preservation. Their goal was to demonstrate the value of historic preservation in establishing community identity by sharing the stories of individuals with a personal connection to each site.
DB Media Company of Rochester contracted with the State for production. Filming took place at Rock Island on August 27th and 28th last year, with brilliant sunshine and plenty of enthusiasm. The company used drones equipped with cameras to capture the spectacular aerial shots highlighted in the video.
Among those of us invited to share our stories on camera were Deb Spry, Manager of Rock Island Lighthouse State Park, Brian Thomas, Capital Facilities Manager for Thousand Islands Parks Region, Kevin Kieff, former Director of Thousand Islands State Parks Region, Manny and Vicki Jerome, Friends of Rock Island Lighthouse State Park and long-time volunteers prior to the site’s restoration, and me Mark Wentling, in my capacity as Executive Director of Rock Island Lighthouse Historical & Memorial Association and a descendant of Michael J. Diepolder who was Keeper of the lighthouse from 1886 to 1901. Each of us shared our personal enthusiasm for the lighthouse and what its restoration means to us. Ruth Pierpont, Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation, was present along with O’Brien and Reeves, who conducted some of the interviews.
The video was premiered May 6th at the keynote address of the 2016 New York Statewide Preservation Conference in Albany to a crowd of more than 300 historic preservation professionals, enthusiasts and officials from across the state.
The video runs approximately four minutes in length and can be viewed on New York State Parks’ official YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/UfnurOUfteE.
It has been tremendously exciting and rewarding to be part of transforming Rock Island Lighthouse from a boarded up, neglected site in danger of being lost, into the shining example of the spirit of the Thousand Islands that it is today!
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