- I worked as a tour guide for two summers at the Umpqua River Lighthouse in Oregon. This opportunity enabled me to learn more about this lighthouse than any of the others I've seen. Although I have personally visited 302 lighthouses in the United States and three Provinces in Canada, the Umpqua River Lighthouse has special meaning for me.
31 May 2012
At the time of my visit in 2001, the Keepers dwelling had been converted into a museum. This museum is the first Great Lakes lighthouse museum in Ohio, and first in the U.S. The museum was established in 1945 by the Fairport Harbor Historical Society.
24 May 2012
The Perry Monument is located at South Bass Island, OH near Put-In-Bay. It was built between 1912-1915 and commemorates Commodore Oliver Perry's naval victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The historic site is five miles from the Canadian-American border. The longest unfortified boundary in the world. The memorial is dedicated to peace throughout the world.
17 May 2012
Fifteen lighthouse keepers, two of whom were women, have tended to the light. The original lights were thirteen whale oil lamps with sixteen-inch-diameter metal reflectors to help project the light across the lake.
At the turn of the century an additional fifteen-feet were added to the tower's height. A clock-like mechanism was installed to rotate the lantern, creating the appearance of a brilliant flash of light every ten seconds. This required the lighthouse keeper to crank the weights up every three hours through the night in order to keep the lantern turning. In 1923 an electric light replaced the kerosene lantern which dramatically increased the candle-power.
The U.S. Coast Guard took responsibility for the beacon in 1946 after the last civilian lighthouse keeper resigned. They automated the beacon in 1958. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources has maintained the property surrounding the lighthouse since 1972, and then in 1998 they accepted ownership of the light tower.
At the time of my visit to this lighthouse in 1998, the U.S. Coast Guard continued to operate and maintain the lighthouse beacon. The 300 mm lens projected a green signal that flashed every six seconds and visible for eleven miles out on the lake. Its green light distinguishes the lighthouse signal from white lights coming from other air beacons.
10 May 2012
03 May 2012
This lighthouse served mariners continuously from 1868 until 1939 with one exception. For a short time during 1886 it was out of commission because of a fire which severely damaged the building. This fire also cost the life of Mary Terry, one of the first women light keepers on the Great Lakes.
By 1939, the contours of the Escanaba Harbor had been changed by dredging and filling, which left the lighthouse some distance from the Sand Point Hazard for which it had been giving warnings for years. So, upon taking responsibilities for navigational lights that year, the Coast Guard constructed a crib light several hundred feet offshore. The lighthouse, after major alterations, then became the residence for the Officer-in-Charge of the station.
In 1985 the Coast Guard discontinued use of the building and a lease was negotiated with the Delta County Historical Society. Restoration to the exterior of the lighthouse was completed to return it to its original appearance. The interior spaces were decorated as they would have appeared a hundred years ago, following the 1886 fire.
In 1998 I visited this lighthouse, and it stood as an example of pride and many hours of hard work put forth by the historical society to preserve a piece of Escanaba's local history.