America’s fascination with lighthouses may be because of the mystery and romance that surround these beacons of light or perhaps it is all the symbolism that has been attached to its light… a place of refuge and safety. For some, like me, it is about a way of life that has pretty much passed into the annals of history. It’s “lights out” for most of the lighthouses in the United States, but there are a few left whose beacons cast their light on the waters and keep boaters and sailors out of harms way.
One of those lighthouses happens to be the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes — Marblehead Lighthouse on Lake Erie.
Every 6 seconds it casts a green light extending 11 nautical miles.
The Marblehead lighthouse is located in Marblehead, Ohio on the end of the Marblehead peninsula which divides Lake Erie from Sandusky Bay.
Built by William Kelly the 50 foot tower with a base 25 feet in diameter is made of limestone. Marblehead is still a major supplier of limestone today. In 1822 the first of 15 “keepers” was Benajah Wolcott and each night he lit the wicks of 13 whale lamps whose light was projected off of metal refletors and lit up the dark nights. Benajah passed away in 1832 and his wife Rachel took over the Keeper’s duties. She was the first of two women to become light keepers at Marblehead.
The first three Lighthouse Keepers lived in a small stone house and in 1880 they were moved to a wooden frame home next to the lighthouse. The house next to the lighthouse is now the Museum.
Marblehead Lighthouse State Park is a wonderful place to spend a day, a weekend or longer. There are ample spots for a picnic, the tours are interesting and you can even bring your fishing pole — I think you might have to have a license to go along with that though.
Looking out into Lake Erie from the shore of Marblehead State Park you can see the Lake Erie Islands and Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. There are ferries that will take you to the islands. There are also some great island cruises you can take.
Visitor Center and Memorial Column Hours:
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|May 16 – Oct. 4||Daily|
|Oct. 9 – Oct. 26||Fri., Sat., Sun., & Mon.|
The Memorial was established to honor those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812, which was a significant naval battle. It also celebrates the “long-lasting peace between Britain, Canada and the U.S.” Named after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry the Peace Memorial rises 352 feet over Lake Erie
Looking back towards the mainland from the Marblehead Shore you will see the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky. Also known as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. There are 16 roller coasters.
A weekend little trip to Marblehead will not disappoint!!!