The American Lighthouse Foundation honored William Kourakos as a recipient of the “Keeper of the Light” award during the organization’s annual Lighthouse Gala, which was held at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport on May 15, 2016.
ALF’s “Keeper of the Light” award honors those individuals in the national lighthouse community who have contributed in a significant manner to the preservation of America’s lighthouses and their rich heritage.
William Kourakos, a longtime Cape Elizabeth resident, does not own just any home in town – he happens to own the former keeper’s house at Cape Elizabeth Light Station, which is situated in the shadow of the 67-foot east tower that has immortalized by the paintings of celebrated artist, Edward Hopper.
William’s meticulous care of the keeper’s house is evident at first glance, but such an interest and commitment to keeping things pristine is not limited to his property. He has also demonstrated time and again a desire to lend a hand to the American Lighthouse Foundation in its efforts to care for the 1874 light tower.
Today, the lighthouse with its Italianate architectural detail that is fashioned out of cast iron, is once again gleaming from its commanding perch above the sea thanks to William’s keen interest in history and amazing generosity.
William donated $60,000 in 2014, which fully funded the repainting of the lighthouse and base, as well as masonry repairs along the base. The project, which spanned from the fall of 2014 through the spring of 2015 (with time off during the winter months), was carried out by Atlantic Coast Painting & Restoration and Nate Ross Masonry, and managed by the American Lighthouse Foundation.
The 2014-15 project was not William’s first commitment to helping Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse. He also kindly donated $10,000 in 2008, which, along with a $2,500 donation from ALF’s New England Lighthouse Lovers, funded vital repairs to the tower’s masonry base. In the wake of this project, Maine Preservation presented the American Lighthouse Foundation – and the project’s contractor, the J.B. Leslie Company, with its 2009 “Organization Award” for excellence in preservation at Cape Elizabeth and Pemaquid Point lighthouses.
The United States Department of the Interior has noted that Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, “stands as a graphic reminder of an era a century ago in which even the most functional of structures were endowed with a proud grace and dignity of design.”
Thanks to the heartfelt generosity of modern day “keeper” William Kourakos, we are happy to say that Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse continues to live up to its rich heritage and is why William is deserving of the “Keeper of the Light” honor!