Lighthouses are a popular Cat’s Meow item with collectors usually buying more than one to include in their home décor. But what if buying a Cat’s Meow replica just isn’t enough?
Long time Cat’s Meower, Sheila Consaul boasts about owning a “ton of Cat’s Meows” including her prized collection of Skaneateles, NY where she grew up.
But when it came to lighthouses, she had to buy the real thing! That’s right, you read correctly…a real, live, sitting-on-the-water lighthouse! And…since she now owned a lighthouse, the next natural thing to do was create a Cat’s Meow keepsake. That’s how we learned of Sheila’s story.
“I have done historic preservation in the past,” related Sheila, “and I was looking for an unusual property for a summer home when I heard the government was auctioning off lighthouses.” So in 2009, she bid on the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse. Four bids later in 2011 Sheila finally owned a real lighthouse perched at the end of a break wall on Lake Erie.
Cat’s Meow & Fundraising:
As she was fundraising for the intense renovation process, Sheila created a Kickstarter campaign. Each pledge level on her Kickstarter included an appropriate reward.
As Sheila put together her pledge levels and rewards, she thought of Cat’s Meow and her own collection.
Sheila said that she loved Cat’s Meow's work and that “being an Ohio-based company, it totally made perfect sense” to offer a wooden replica of her lighthouse as one of the rewards.
Of course, we at Cat’s Meow were so pleased to be a part of Sheila’s big project!
“Since 2011, I’ve been renovating it, mostly cosmetic things.” Sheila adds, “The lighthouse is on the National Register Of Historic Places, so there are renovation standards I am required to adhere to.”
The inside of the lighthouse just needed a fresh layer of paint and floor refinishing. Sheila continues, “There’s no sewer, water, or electricity…back when it was occupied from 1925-1948, the keeper would have used a coal furnace, steam generator for electricity, and lake water.”
There are still renovations taking place, but the lighthouse is liveable minus the running water. Sheila has a modern kitchen, two bedrooms, and a bunkroom. All of her furnishings have been delivered by boat!
When something is too heavy or awkward to carry -- such as furniture, cabinets, appliances, granite countertop, water treatment equipment, and tile -- it must be brought out by boat or specialized barge. The boat deliveries necessitate good weather, a great deal of coordination, and significant manpower.
Are you curious about what a liveable lighthouse looks like?
Sheila provides free private tours throughout the summer by appointment and an annual Birthday Open House in June for the community to see the progress of the renovations. Her Birthday Open House draws over 600 people each year.
We love being part of fundraisers and have supported many over the years. Our unique handmade replicas can help your next fundraiser. Want to learn more or brainstorm with us?
We handcraft all of our keepsakes in Ohio from ¾” thick wood with detailed front designs and written descriptions on the back. They can be set neatly on a shelf, desk, or narrow ledge such as wainscoting, window, or door trim.
Group them with other Cat’s Meows to create your own little Village!
Look for Casper, our black cat mascot, sitting or reclining within the design. He's the sign of an authentic Cat's Meow souvenir replica.
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