As of Wednesday, July 31 the Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse, off Southport Island, will be closed. Innkeepers have given their notice to the Cuckolds Fog Signals and Light Station Council – the 501(c)(3)nonprofit which runs the inn. The inn’s website has since been taken down, though the Facebook page remains.
“We felt we could not train someone adequately this season, so we canceled the rest of the season,” president of the Council Paul Coulombe said in an email.
Coulombe became president in 2012 taking over a grassroots funded campaign from Gerry Gamage who signed for the island’s deed on behalf of the Southport community in 2006 and led a strong community effort to restore the old buildings. The lighthouse was the first in America to be transferred under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.
Along with Coulombe, Knickerbocker Group was brought on board, replacing most of the council’s volunteer and design team. Despite pushback from longtime members – three of whom resigned including Gamage – who wanted to keep the project grassroots and volunteer based, by summer 2014 the Inn was ready to host guests. Read more about the Inn’s timeline here.
There are no plans to continue running the Inn, Coulombe noted; however, to continue maintaining the lighthouse through the Council, a series of things must continue: fundraising at least 33% in small donations, self-sustaining operations and public access and education.
Coulombe said that’s why “It will always be a nonprofit that operates it and will give much more access to the public.”