The iconic Titanic Memorial Lighthouse by the Seaport is getting restored

Did you know that a monument honoring those who perished on the Titanic, the British passenger liner that tragically sank back in 1912 after hitting an iceberg, was built in New York City’s Seaport District back in 1913?

Over a century after it was first erected, the 60-foot-tall Titanic Memorial Lighthouse by Pearl Street is actually undergoing renovations—finally!

The South Street Seaport Museum, the agency responsible for the monument, has just put out a request for proposals for architectural and engineering services, seeking the right candidate to restore the lighthouse to its original condition.

According to the request, the museum is looking to start work on the project—including cleaning, repairing, painting, the development of official signage and coordination with the Landmarks Preservation Commission—immediately. 

The original lighthouse, designed by the same architects responsible for Grand Central Terminal, Warren and Wetmore, sat atop the Seamen’s Church Institute at 25 South Street. The now public artifact wasn’t just an effort in aesthetics, but a fully functioning lighthouse that even boasted a time ball that would drop down daily to let the boats in the harbor know it was noontime. A working green light was also part of the monument.

In the late 1960s, the Seamen’s Church Institute was demolished and the lighthouse was donated to the South Street Seaport Museum. The entity decided to re-install it at its current location in 1976 and, now, after years of campaigning, the Friends of Titanic Memorial Lighthouse, a group that consists of both preservationists and the descendants of those who passed away on the boat, have been able to make their voices heard and start the renovation process.

The nonprofit also set up a GoFundMe page to aid in their efforts. “Titanic Memorial Lighthouse was the world’s first monument erected to the victims, unveiled exactly one year after the tragedy,” reads the page. “Titanic descendants look forward to engaging with architects and the museum and being included, much like the 9/11 Memorial process. Family voices must rightly be heard as to where the 1,496 names will be inscribed, and what rededication services may be held.”

The update is certainly a timely one as the Academy Award-winning movie Titanic, based on the real-life events surrounding the catastrophe, is actually celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, heading back to theaters in 3D for a limited time starting on February 10.

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