Marblehead Lighthouse, Ohio, USA (with Map & Photos)

The Marblehead Lighthouse in Marblehead, Ohio, USA, is the oldest permanently operating lighthouse on the American side of the Great Lakes. It has safely guided sailors along rocky shores since 1822 and is an active means of navigation.

Marblehead Lighthouse
Marblehead Lighthouse


Marblehead Lighthouse - In 1819, the Fifteenth U.S. Congress recognized the need for assistants to navigate the Great Lakes and allocated $ 5,000 to build a light tower at the entrance to Sandusky Bay. In 1821, contractor William Kelly (with the assistance of local residents Amos Fenn and WB Smith) built a 15-meter tower from local limestone on top of the river. The base of the tower is 25 feet (7.6 m) in diameter and the walls are 5 feet (1.5 m) thick. It tapers to 12 feet (3.7 m) at the top with 2 feet (0.61 m) thick walls.

Prior to its automation, 15 lighthouse keepers, two of whom were women, tended the Marblehead Lighthouse. The first guardian was Benaja Walcott, a Revolutionary War veteranand one of the first settlers on the peninsula (although from 1819-1821 he lived in the city of Sandusky). Following the completion of the lighthouse in 1821, as well as the adjacent stone "guardian house", Walcott and his family moved to this official "guardian house". Every night, he lit the wicks of 13 whale oil lamps, which were original lighting fixtures (consisting of several 406 mm diameter metal reflectors that helped project the light onto the lake). Other duties of the lighthouse keeper included compiling a log of passing ships, recording weather conditions and organizing rescue operations.

Marblehead Lighthouse - After Walcott's death in 1832, his wife Rachel took over these responsibilities (and later her last husband, Jeremiah VanBenshoter, took over the same responsibilities). Fresnel lens; this specialized curved glass lens produced highly visible fixed white light. In 1880, the original stone guardian house from 1821 (next to the lighthouse) was replaced by the current large wooden guardian house. Note: These structures are not to be confused with the (so-called) Guardian House / Walcott House, which is approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) from the lighthouse.

A rescue station was built 800 m west of the Marblehead Lighthouse in 1876. Lucien Clemons, who with his two brothers saved two sailors from a shipwreck off the peninsula on May 1, 1875, was named the first commanding officer.

At the turn of the century, new technologies emerged as well as structural changes, including the addition of another 15 feet (4.6 m) to the tower's height. A clockwork mechanism was installed that rotated the lantern, creating the appearance of a bright flash of light every 10 seconds. This system required the lighthouse keeper to turn the weights every three hours during the night in order for the lantern to keep rotating. An improved Fresnel lens with a prismatic surface creates an even brighter beacon.

Marblehead Lighthouse
Marblehead Lighthouse

Electric light finally replaced the kerosene lantern in 1923, dramatically increasing the signal intensity. During World War II, the lighthouse became strategically important for national defense. The last civilian lighthouse keeper resigned, and the US Coast Guard took charge of the lighthouse in 1946.

The Marblehead Lighthouse was automated in 1958. Its original finish was worn by time and harsh weather, in the same year, the facade of the lighthouse tower was covered with fresh plaster.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has been serving the area around the lighthouse since 1972 and took ownership of the Marblehead Lighthouse Tower in May 1998. The US Coast Guard continues to operate and maintain the lighthouse. In 2012, an LED luminaire was installed. Its green light flashes every six seconds and is visible from 11 nautical miles (20 km; 13 miles). The bright green color distinguishes the beacon signal from the white light emitted by aerial beacons.

The Marblehead Lighthouse was one of five lighthouses selected for a postage stamp in the 1995 Great Lakes Lighthouses series designed by Howard Coslow. One lighthouse has been selected for each 28 lighthouses. Great Lakes. Five lighthouses: Split Rock Light at Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Spectacle Reef Light at Lake Huron, Marblehead Lighthouse (Ohio) at Lake Erie, and Thirty Mile Point Light at Lake Ontario.

In 2001-2002. The state renovated the tower and caretaker's home at a cost of $ 500,000. In 2004, the Fresnel lens was returned to the light station from the Marblehead Coast Guard station, where it had previously been displayed.

Marblehead Lighthouse Map