Thursday, September 28, 2006

Historic Duluth Foghorn Dismantled

The foghorn in the Duluth harbor will bellow no more. Members of TOOT, the nonprofit group that owns the horn, Started to take apart the huge brass, steel and iron diaphone horn, which became unusable after its antiquated electrical wiring failed late last year. Eric Ringsred, one of TOOT's founders, blames the city and the U.S. Coast Guard for the loss of the foghorn. "We're removing it because of a total lack of commitment," he said. "Partnering with the Coast Guard and the city was a bad idea to start with." Chief Mark Brookmole, the officer in charge of the Coast Guard's Aids to Navigation team in Duluth, said he couldn't justify the cost of restoring the old-style wiring to the pier where the foghorn sits.The Coast Guard has replaced the foghorn with a much smaller, higher-pitched horn some traditionalists have derided as a "peanut horn." Brookmole said the city had the option of funding the wiring restoration on its own. Dick Larson, Duluth's director of public works, estimates that repowering the pier would have cost about $15,000. Larson said the Coast Guard told the city that if it wanted to keep operating the old foghorn as a navigation aide, it should assume responsibility for all round-the-clock foghorn operations and liability for maritime accidents related to the foghorn's operation. "That was something the city was not willing to do," Larson said.

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