Fort Smith Lighthouse Renovations Underway Despite Historic Flood

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — While homeowners are busy cleaning up after historic flooding, so is one local landmark.

The Lighthouse Inn in Fort Smith was once a popular restaurant but has been vacant for a number of years.

It's had some ups and downs during it's more than 40 years, with the most recent challenge the historic flood of 2019.

"Yes it's devastating but we feel like with this happening its kind of a gift, we`re going to be able to go back and make it more beautiful, better and more attractive," said real estate agent Tim Dunn.

Dunn says although the lighthouse has been threatened by flooding in the past, this year is the first time water has ever breached the inside, roughly three and a half feet. He says after the pounding it took from the Arkansas River, it's remarkable to see that much of the structure is still intact.

"When they built this facility on three and a half foot of concrete and the beams are under this if this (flood) didn't take it out, I'm not sure a volcano would be the only thing next," Dunn said.

A lot of water damage is being removed by ripping up the floors and tearing down walls.

Some people still remember eating at the popular supper club and lounge in its heyday and would like to see it renovated.

That's exactly what the owners plan to do and turn it into an event center for things like weddings and family reunions.

Dunn estimates that renovations will take about six to eight months.

He says the current owners still plan to sell the property but the first goal is to complete the project.

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