“Sometimes it takes just one person to make a difference” - a cliche - but it rings true for the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse in the Anglesea section of North Wildwood.
The one person may not have done it all by himself - in fact, people rarely can, but sometime you need just that one person to mobilize the community and stay committed to a belief.
And as I walk up the narrow pathway, bordered on both sides by a riot of flowers, the colors so bright and dazzling I am unable to look away, I am astonished by the simple fact that the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse and its gardens are this stunning because one man wanted the historic site preserved.
But it’s not just a desire to simply preserve what I see here, but also one to cherish and nurture. Those who live here know of the history, of how the lighthouse had fallen to ruin by the 1980s. Through the drive of Mayor Anthony Catanoso, among others, North Wildwood acquired the stewardship of the lighthouse, and through a massive community effort, restoration was begun, and over the years made more historically accurate.
The task was mammoth, and one that must have required dedication and interest like no other. Reading “Guardians of the Hereford Inlet,” I am impressed by the continued efforts by members of this community to preserve their history. And as I walk through the gardens, with butterflies fluttering among the glorious petals, I can feel that this garden by Steve Murray is a labor of love.
I peek into the shade garden, taking in the shrubs, trees, the foxgloves, torinia and hydrangeas, and am captivated. Walking over to the front entrance of this Victorian lighthouse, whose structure resembles a house more than the straight, clean tower of a traditional lighthouse, I am told that the fence around the second floor has just been repaired, a reminder of the painstaking effort that went into the restoration of this historic lighthouse. The interior also has been carefully preserved, and I feel the ghosts of past inhabitants - and can almost feel their joy that this place where they spend so many years is loved and thrives.
And I wonder why we are unable to give that to the magnificent buildings and historic structures back home, when small communities here can so beautifully preserve their histories. The lighthouse is proof that lack of funds and bureaucracy are but mere excuses when the will to preserve who we are and where we come from is strong.
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