5 Incredible Lighthouses in Lake Erie, Ohio

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Lighthouses
Lighthouses

Lake Erie is home to more than 20 lighthouses. Some of them date back to the early 1800s. From the rocky shores of Cleveland to the quiet waters of Ashtabula, every tower and beacon is unique. Though the architecture of each lighthouse is fascinating, the stories behind these magnificent structures are incredible. Travelers planning to visit Put-in-Bay and other top attraction sites in Ohio may want to visit the following lighthouses in Lake Erie, Ohio. 

  • Marblehead Lighthouse

The Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest Great Lakes lighthouse in continuous service, situated on the north side of Sandusky Bay’s entrance. The building stands 50 feet high and is made of native Ohio limestone in 1822. With five-foot thick walls, its foundation base measures 25 feet. Up until the US Coast Guard took over operations in 1946, the lighthouse had 15 keepers, of which two are women.

The lighthouse is located in Marblehead State Park, and the park service provides weekday afternoons from Memorial Day by Labor Day tours of the site. Visitors can ascend to the top and enjoy the view of the islands of South Bass and Middle Bass and the Sandusky Bay area surrounding them. Located a mile away, the keeper’s house is open on some afternoons to the public.

  • Ashtabula Harbor Lighthouse

You will find the Ashtabula Lighthouse at the end of a rocky breakwater close to the busy Ashtabula Harbor. Over the decades, it has been one of the lighthouses that have been serving Ashtabula Harbor. 

This lighthouse was manned by the United States Coast Guard until 1973 when it was automated. Interestingly, it was the only remaining lighthouse on Lake Erie to have been staffed. Today, with a ride to the Ashtabula Maritime Museum, visitors can get a glimpse of this lighthouse.

  • South Bass Island Lighthouse

The South Bass Island Lighthouse was built in 1897 and sat on South Bass Island’s southwest coast, not far from Put-in-Bay. During your vacation in South Bass Island, you can use taxis, buses, or Put-in-Bay golf carts to travel from Put-in-Bay Township to the lighthouse. 

The Queen Anne style building is exceptional in that the living rooms are attached to the fortification, and a full basement and 2 1/2 floors of living space are provided in the red brick building. The lighthouse remained in service until an automated tower replaced it in 1962. 

Ohio State University, which uses the building to house research and academic personnel, now owns the South Bass Island Lighthouse. Portions of the lighthouse through tours are available to the public. It is said that the view from the top of the tower is worth the very claustrophobic climb.

  • Lorain Breakwater West Lighthouse

At the end of the west breakwater in Lorain harbor sits the Lorain lighthouse. Established in 1916, the structure-guided ships from Lake Erie for 5 decades before falling into disrepair. In the 1980s, the lighthouse was scheduled to be demolished before a grassroots struggle saved the structure. To keep out the sometimes fierce Lake Erie storms, keeper’s house is poured entirely concrete with walls 10 ” thick.

Although plans for the structure involve boat tours, the lighthouse is surrounded by water and not open to the public.

Wrap up 

As mentioned earlier, there are many lovely Lake Erie lighthouses. So, take the time to visit each of these magnificent buildings. If you choose to be spending your nights in Put-in-Bay hotels, vacation homes, condos, or resorts, you can use ferry services or other relevant means of transport to get to various Lake Erie lighthouses. 

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