Marblehead Lighthouse

Marblehead Lighthouse – Marblehead Ohio

The Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes. Originally known as the Sandusky Bay Light Station. the lighthouse was built in 1821 to aid navigation and prevent shipwrecks. When the lighthouse had a keeper, the beacon was updated with ever brighter lamps and more powerful lenses. At the turn of the I9th century, a watch room and new lantern room were added, increasing the lighthouse’s height 15 feet. Beacons were lit with whale oil, lard oil, kerosene, and then, in 1923, with electricity. As of 2018, the light is an LED that is visible up to eleven nautical miles.

During 1876 the federal government established a series of six lifesaving stations across the southern shore of Lake Erie. By the time the U.S. Lifesaving Service was combined with the U. S Revenue Cutter Service in 1915 to form the new U.S. Coast Guard, there were 376 lifesaving stations in the country, with 77 of them on the Great Lakes. The stations were typically staffed by a crew of six “surfmen” and one station “keeper”. The crew lived in the station and had a weekly duty schedule consisting of training with the rescue boat, practicing with the breeches buoy apparatus and performing needed equipment maintenance. In 1939 the U. S. Lighthouse Service was added to the Coast Guard and the operation of all lighthouses is their responsibility to this day.

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