Lighthouses are beautiful and full of history. I enjoy visiting them when I can, and when I can't, I collect miniature lighthouses and paintings of them, including those collector plates. Below is a list of lighthouses on the Great Lakes that I would love to visit.
The tower stands on a concrete foundation with wooden piles that reach to a depth of 30 feet. The tower's 2 outer walls include an inner air space between them. The tower lantern is of glass and iron construction and is topped by a copper sheeting roof. The building is designed in an Italianate architecture. This lighthouse tower and building is open to visitors.
7. Wind Point Lighthouse
One of the oldest and tallest active lighthouses on the Great Lakes at 108 feet is located at the north end of Racine Harbor in Wisconsin. Dating back to 1880, the beacon was originally powered by a 3-wicked kerosene lamp and magnified by a Third Order Fresnel Lens. It was converted to an electrical operation in 1924, and replaced by a DCB-24R airport beacon in 1964. The Village of Wind Point maintains the lighthouse and grounds and uses the old keepers' quarters as the village hall and police headquarters.
The Kate Kelly was a schooner that sank in 1895 off the coast of Wind Point, Wisconsin. On the morning of May 13, a storm broke out across Lake Michigan, sinking several ships including the Kate Kelly. There were no survivors and the bodies of the crew were never found.
8. North Point Lighthouse
The current station sits on a bluff overlooking the entrance to the Milwaukee River from Lake Michigan. The first lighthouse was built in 1855 of cream city brick and it burned mineral oil. A new lens was installed in 1868 and is still in use. Due to erosion, another lighthouse made of cast iron was built on the site in 1888. It was not tall enough and trees obstructed the light. A new tower was begun in 1912 and the original tower was lifted on top of it at a total of 74 feet tall. The place where the 2 towers merge is clearly visible by the center horizontal ridge shown in the photo. The present light is a 25,000 candlepower lamp rotated electrically and controlled by an automatic time clock, visible for 25 miles.
9. Cana Island Lighthouse
This lighthouse was established in 1870 just north of Baileys Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin on Lake Michigan and is still operational with the original Third Order Fresnel lens. The keepers quarters, privy and tower were made of cream city brick, but the brick of the tower quickly deteriorated due to storms and icy winters. In 1902, a steel cladding was wrapped around the original brick of the 89 foot tower to protect it from further deterioration. The stone foundation goes below ground 4 feet and is set on bedrock. There are 102 cast iron steps in the circular staircase leading to the watch room.
The keeper's house is attached and made of cream-colored Milwaukee brick. The cast iron lantern at the top of the tower has 2 levels--a watch room at the top of the tower with the lantern room above containing the lens. It used to be fueled by lard, later by kerosene, then by acetylene. The round ball at the top is the vent that removed the smoke and soot from the oil lamp. Each night oil had to be carried to the top of the tower by the keeper or his assistant to keep the light fueled until electricity was installed in 1945.
10. Point Betsie Lighthouse
The lighthouse was built in 1858 at on the northeast shore of Lake Michigan at 52 feet above lake level. In 1875 the life saving station was built. The light was originally equipped with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens Fourth Order with bullseye, which was upgraded to a Third Order in 1880. The cylindrical tower is 39 feet tall on a dune. It is attached to the Lighthouse keeper's house, which was upgraded to an attractive gambrel roof design. Point Betsie was manned for 106 years and was the last lighthouse on Lake Michigan to lose its keeper when it succumbed to automation in 1983.
The keeper's house has been converted to apartments for Coast Guard Personnel and is not open to the public. The beach must take an unusually harsh pounding from Lake Michigan storms, because there has been much shoring up with concrete and steel breakwaters and aprons.
11. Marblehead Lighthouse
At the entrance of Sandusky Bay on Marblehead Peninsula sits the oldest active lighthouse on the US side of the Great Lakes on Lake Erie. Built in 1822 of native limestone, the tower was originally 50 feet tall, but was raised to it's present 65 feet between 1897 and 1903. Over the years 15 lighthouse keepers served the tower beacon, two of whom were women. The first keeper was Benajah Wolcott, a Revolutionary War veteran and one of the first settlers on the peninsula. He and his family lived in a small stone home on the Sandusky Bay side of the peninsula. Each night, he lit the wicks of the 13 whale oil lamps, the original light fixture. Upon his death in 1832, his wife Rachel took over his duties. In 1858 the whale oil lamps were replaced by a Fresenel lens lit from a single kerosene lantern.
A lifesaving station was built 1 1/2 mile west of the lighthouse in 1876. Lucien Clemons and his 2 brothers saved 2 sailors from a shipwreck off the peninsula on May 1, 1875. In 1880, the lighthouse keeper's household moved to a wooden frame home next to the lighthouse. An electric light replaced the kerosene lantern in 1923 and the beacon was automated in 1958.
The current lens projects a green signal that flashes every 6 seconds and is visible for 11 nautical miles. The distinctive green distinguishes the lighthouse signal from white lights coming from planes. It is part of the Marblehead Lighthouse State Park and the victorian style keeper's home is open as a museum and the tower is open to visitors.
Constructed in 1917 by the Army Corps of Engineers, the lighthouse has stands on Lake Erie. It was taken out of service in 1965 and replaced by an automated light on nearby breakwater. It is built on a concrete pier and reinforced with steel. It is 51 feet tall with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens. The original fourth order Fresnel lens was removed in 1965 and the lighthouse was nearly demolished. Local residents saved it, however, and today the light is owned by the Port of Lorain Foundation.
13. Fairport Harbor Lighthouse
14. Barcelona Lighthouse
The 40-foot tower was constructed of natural fieldstone in 1829 on Lake Erie overlooking Barcelona Harbor in the Town of Westfield, New York in response to increased shipping traffic after the opening of the Erie Canal. The light was lit by 11 lamps with 14-inch reflector. It was the first lighthouse in the world to be powered by natural gas, which the keeper transported from a burning spring about a mile by wooden pipes. In 1859, the lighthouse was deactivated, but still stands in private ownership.
The image to the left was taken around 1900.
15. Fort Niagra Lighthouse