I love to visit lighthouses so I have compiled ten great Marblehead Lighthouse facts! This was one of the loveliest lighthouses I’ve seen. Stopping by on a hosted trip from Lake Erie Shores & Islands, with Sara Broers of Travel with Sara, we arrived just in time for the last tour of the day.
During our tour I learned that the Marblehead Lighthouse was built in 1821. We also learned Marblehead Lighthouse is one of Lake Erie’s best known and most-photographed landmarks.
Fact # 1
The Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes. The lighthouse has guided sailors safely since 1822!
Fact # 2
We just made it in time to take the tower tour and guess how many steps that is? We quickly (and breathlessly) learned there are 77 steps to the top! At the top it was a bit cloudy. However, usually you have views of Lake Erie, Sandusky Bay, Kelleys Island and South Bass Island.
Fact # 3
The lighthouse is part of Marblehead State Park. The lighthouse is built on Marblehead Peninsula, a rocky headland of Columbus Limestone. Did you know that limestone is sometimes referred to as marble? Thus the name Marblehead!
In the Light Keeper’s House there is a Marblehead room which focuses on local history. This includes the local industry which was lime quarrying.
Fact # 4
Inside the Light Keeper’s house we learned that here at the Marblehead Lighthouse, they had the first female lighthouse keeper in the United States. She served after her husband the lighthouse keeper died of cholera. He caught the disease from bodies washed up on shore!
A total of sixteen keepers have tended the Lighthouse.
Fact # 5
At this location there is a rare three and one-half order Fresnel lens! You can view this in the Light Keeper’s house. The lens was installed after it was exhibited at the 1904 Saint Louis World’s Fair. It was in use at the Lighthouse until it was removed in 1969.
According to the website, the U.S. Coast Guard was instrumental in bringing it back home to the Marblehead Lighthouse. It has been on display since 2004.
The Marblehead tower is accessed by iron stairs from the early 1900’s. The ironwork is a thing of beauty! The ironwork reminds me of lace.
Fact # 7
The Keeper’s House is now a museum and gift shop. This house is the second to be built onsite and it was constructed in 1880. It has been home to 16 keepers and their families. What is really something is if you had an assistant, they lived upstairs. Close quarters!
Fact # 8
The Keeper’s House was saved by a last minute stay from the State of Ohio. They took over ownership saving the lighthouse from being burned that very day.
It was 5th district Congressman Delbert Latta that worked with local, state and federal officials to save both the Lighthouse and Keeper’s House. Those efforts helped the site be declared a State Park on June of 1998. Then in 2000, the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society opened the home as a museum.
Fact # 9
The days of the lighthouse keepers ended in 1943 when responsibility for the Lighthouse was assumed by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Fact # 10
An area Sara and I missed was the Lifesaving Station. At the park, they have a replica of the 1876 U.S. Lifesaving Station which was completed in 2016. The original Lifesaving Station was built on the site of the present U.S. Coast Guard Station, about a mile from the Lighthouse. The lifesaving station museum is located near the Lighthouse on the State Park Property . This area features a variety of exhibits and an authentically restored 27-foot Coast Guard rescue boat complete with launching railway.
We noticed great walkways and that this area is so picturesque. The day we were there a huge group of painters from all over were painting the lighthouse. Whether you come for the history or the view, this is a great stop! I hope these Marbelhead Lighthouse facts help!
If you like lighthouses some other places to travel that are US destinations include Kenosha Wisconsin’s Southport Lighthouse Station Museum and Georgia’s Tybee Island. If you want to go north, look toward Fort Point Island in Nova Scotia or head to beautiful Peggy’s Cove.
Check them all out, but Marblehead is waiting, do note though that the Marblehead Lighthouse tower is currently undergoing renovation and closed right after Labor Day!
God made such a beautiful world which I hope you get out to see, in the meantime, thanks for traveling with me!