Lighthouses of the United States: Ohio

The U.S. state of Ohio has a coastline that faces north on Lake Erie. Toledo in the west and Cleveland in the east are the largest lake ports, but there are a number of smaller ports. There are also a number of islands in Ohio's portion of the lake.

There is no state lighthouse preservation society in Ohio, but many of the towers are supported by local societies. The historic Marblehead Light, the oldest U.S. lighthouse on the Great Lakes, is by far the state's best known lighthouse. Two other historic towers (at Ashtabula and Fairport Harbor) have been restored and are open to the public. Much work has been done to restore the Lorain Harbor Light, and efforts are underway to restore the Toledo Harbor Light.

Aids to navigation in Michigan are maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases.

Special thanks to Ron Schooling for his research on Ohio's inland lighthouses.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. USCG numbers are from Volume VII of the United States Coast Guard Light List.

General Sources
Lighthouses of Ohio
Photos and accounts by Kraig Anderson as part of his LighthouseFriends.com site. Anderson is the best Internet source for historical information on Ohio lighthouses.
Lighthouses of the Great Lakes - Lake Erie
This site by Neil Schultheiss has good photos and information on the lighthouses.
Lighthouses of Ohio
Posted by Bryan Penberthy; directions to the lighthouses with links to photos.
Ohio Lighthouses
Good photos and brief accounts, with driving directions, posted by Gary Richardson and Anna Klein.
Lake Erie Lighthouses
Photos by C.W. Bash.
Lights of Cleveland Harbor
An outstanding historical account (on a poorly known subject), published in the blog of the Great Lakes Lightkeepers Association (GLLKA) in April 2013.
Lighthouses in Ohio, United States
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Lighthouses in Ohio
Photos available from Wikimedia.
National Maritime Inventory - Ohio
Inventory of Ohio lighthouse data.
Coast Guard Lighthouses - Ohio
Historic photos and notes, posted by the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's office.
U.S. Lighthouses: Ohio
Historic postcard images posted by Michel Forand.
Leuchttürme USA auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images of U.S. lighthouses posted by Klaus Huelse.

Marblehead Light
Marblehead Light, Marblehead, June 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Joel Hageman

Lake Erie Lighthouses

Lucas County (Toledo Area) Lighthouses
Turtle Island (2)
1866 (station established 1832). Inactive since 1904. 42 ft (13 m) ruined square cylindrical stone tower; no lantern. Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. C.M. Hanchey has a 2012 photo, J.K. Flavell has an aerial photo, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Turtle Island is a tiny island about 4 miles (6.5 km) northeast of Harbor View, on the north side of the Toledo harbor entrance. The island was long in dispute between the states of Ohio and Michigan; a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1973 left it bisected by the state border, with the lighthouse standing on the Ohio half. The light tower was formerly attached church-style to a 2-story stone keeper's house, similar to the Green Island Light (see below) and the lighthouses at Marquette Harbor and Ontonagon, Michigan. After years of neglect and vandalism, the lighthouse was struck by a tornado in 1965. In 2002, Keith Fifer, who held a lease on the island, announced his intention to restore the light, control erosion, and provide for public access. In August, authorities in Monroe County, Michigan, sued to stop him from constructing buildings without permits on the Michigan portion of the island. In September building resumed, and Fifer completed two vacation rental houses on the island. In 2008, Monroe County authorities, supported by a court order, ordered the unapproved structures demolished. In fact, they were destroyed by ice floes during the winter of 2008-09, as seen in photos by Don Coles and Greg Knott posted by Schultheiss. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner: private. Site manager: private. ARLHS USA-859.
Toledo Harbor
1904. Active; focal plane 72 ft (22 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 69 ft (21 m) square brick tower rising from the center of the roof of a 3-story Romanesque buff-colored brick keeper's house; 300 mm lens. The original Barbier & Benard 3-1/2 order Fresnel lens, removed in the 1995, is on display at the lodge at Maumee Bay State Park. The tower and the building's roof painted black. A brick fog signal building is attached as an annex to the keeper's house. Fog horn (blast every 30 s) as needed. C.M. Hanchey's photo is at right, Becky Snyder has a photo, a 2009 photo is available, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Forand has a historic postcard view, and Huelse also has a historic postcard view, but the lighthouse is not shown in Google's satellite view. This unique and architecturally significant lighthouse was mostly ignored by lighthouse fans and Toledo residents for many years. In 2003, the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed to work for preservation and restoration of the lighthouse. In September 2005, the Society applied to secure ownership of the station under the NHLPA. The application was approved, and the deed was transferred in April 2007. In June 2006, the Lake Erie Protection Fund granted $10,000 towards building a new dock for access to the station. The dock was installed in October 2008, but somehow thieves stole it in April 2009. Plans for the restoration have been completed; the cost may be as much as $2 million. The Fresnel lens, which had been displayed at the Toledo Science Center, was moved to Maumee Bay State Park in May 2008. Located on a stone-filled concrete crib at least 5 km (3 mi) offshore and 13 km (8 mi) northeast of the harbor entrance; there are distant views from the Niles Beach area and Maumee Bay State Park. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed except for occasional guided tours. Owner/site manager: Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society. ARLHS USA-853; USCG 7-6030.
* Manhattan Range Rear
1918. Inactive since the late 1980s. 20 ft (6 m) skeletal tower with square steel lantern room. Lantern painted beige with green trim and a green roof. This is only the top of the lighthouse, which was originally 80 ft (24 m) tall and located near the mouth of the Maumee River. A 2007 photo is available, and Google has a street view and an aerial view. A historic photo of the original light station is available, and Forand has a postcard photo. The lighthouse was relocated in the late 1980s to the parking lot of Hansen Industries at 2824 North Summit Street, near Cleveland Street on the north side of the Maumee River in Toledo. The current rear range light (focal plane 105 ft (32 m); continuous red light; USCG 7-6110) is mounted atop a building on the waterfront. Site and tower closed, but the lighthouse can be viewed from Summit Street nearby. Owner/site manager: H. Hansen Industries. ARLHS USA-927.

Toledo Harbor Light, Toledo, June 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.M. Hanchey
* Manhattan Range Front
1918. Inactive since the late 1980s. 20 ft (6 m) skeletal tower with square steel lantern room. Formerly painted white, the lighthouse has been repainted with a dark orange lantern room, red roof, and light brown skeletal tower. A 2010 photo and a historic photo is available, and Google has a street view and an aerial view. In the late 1980s, the two Manhattan Range lights were removed by workers from Hansen Industries, who placed them in the company's parking lot. The front light was purchased by the owner of the Lighthouse Café (now the Six Pack Bar and Grill), who moved it to the restaurant on the north side of the Maumee River at 2605 Broadway Street. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Six Pack Bar and Grill. ARLHS USA-1089.
Toledo Water Works Intake Crib
Date unknown, Active; focal plane 50 ft (15 m); four quick-flashing white lights. Lights mounted atop a round masonry building. Geocaching.com has a photo of the structure, and the crib appears as a faint spot in Google's satellite view. The four lights replaced a single light when the roof of the structure was replaced in 2006. Located in Lake Erie 10.5 mi (17 km) east of the mouth of the Maumee River and 2 mi (3 km) northeast of the mouth of Cooley Creek. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed (restricted area). USCG 7-6025.
West Sister Island (2)
1848 (station established 1821). Active; focal plane 57 ft (17.5 m); white flash every 4 s. 55 ft (17 m) round old-style brick tower, painted white. Lantern removed; a solar-powered light (300 mm lens) is displayed atop the capped tower. The keeper's house was destroyed in 1945. One of the last built and least known of the old-style U.S. towers. The Coast Guard has a historic photo of the light station, and Bing has a distant satellite view. The lighthouse is very close to the water and seems endangered by beach erosion. Formerly used as an Army target range, West Sister Island is now managed as a federally protected wilderness (the only national wilderness area in Ohio). Located on the southwestern tip of the island, about 6 miles (10 km) offshore and 15 miles (24 km) east of the mouth of the Maumee River. The island, site, and tower are all closed (sensitive wildlife area). Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge). ARLHS USA-882; USCG 7-5550.

Ottawa County: Mainland Lighthouses
Port Clinton (Portage River) Breakwater (2)
1896 (station established 1832). Inactive since early 1960's. 20 ft (6 m) white square pyramidal wood tower, formerly located at the end of the breakwater on the east side of the Portage River entrance, relocated in 1964 to a marina upstream. Jarrod Will has a 2011 closeup photo, Stephen Conn has a 2002 photo, Richardson and Klein have excellent closeup photos, the Coast Guard has a 1904 photo, Forand has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The "pepperpot" form of this little lighthouse is very common in Canada. At one time there were many similar lighthouses on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes, but this is one of only two surviving U.S. examples of the type (the other is at Two Rivers in Eastern Wisconsin). In late 2011, the Brand family, owners of the marina, donated the lighthouse to the City of Port Clinton. The Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy was organized to work for its restoration. The lantern has been removed for repair and restoration. The Conservancy hopes the lighthouse will be displayed in the city's Waterworks Park at the harbor entrance, but work stalled in late 2012 over a disagreement as to location. In March 2013, work on the lantern was complete and the Conservancy proposed a solution to the city. In September 2013, the city finally approved placement of the lighthouse in the park. Installation was planned for spring 2014, with a rededication ceremony in July. The keeper's house (1901), substantially modified, became a restaurant called the Garden at the Lighthouse; it was destroyed by fire in September 2009. In April 2010, the owner was arrested and charged with arson in the destruction of the historic building. The boathouse of the lighthouse survived in Waterworks Park in dilapidated condition until it was demolished in 2010. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Port Clinton. ARLHS USA-914.
West Sister Island Light
West Sister Island Light, Lake Erie, September 2007
Panoramio photo copyright Captnhuey
permission requested
**** Marblehead (Sandusky Bay)
1821 (William Kelly). Active; focal plane 67 ft (20.5 m); green flash every 6 s. 65 ft (20 m) round limestone tower (raised 15 ft in 1897); 300 mm lens. Lighthouse painted white; gallery rail and lantern roof are red. The 2-story Victorian wood keeper's house (1880) is a museum operated by the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society; the 3rd order Fresnel lens (1904) and its rotating mechanism are on display. Joel Hageman's photo is at the top of this page, Bill Geiger has a fine photo, Anderson has an excellent page on the lighthouse, Marinas.com has aerial photos, the Coast Guard has an 1897 photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a good satellite view. This is the oldest active lighthouse on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes. Ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the state in 1998, and in 2001-02 the state carried out a $500,000 renovation of the tower and keeper's house. In 2004 the Fresnel lens was returned to the light station from the Marblehead Coast Guard Station, where it had been on display for many years. The Ottawa County Historical Society owns the original 1-story fieldstone keeper's house, 3 miles (5 km) from the light on OH 163 in Marblehead; C.M. Hanchey has a good photo. Located on OH 163 east of Lakeside. Site open; museum and tower open for guided tours Monday through Friday afternoons and Sunday evenings late May through the end of August and also on the second Saturday of each month, June through October. Owner: Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Site manager: Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. ARLHS USA-472; USCG 7-5250.

Ottawa County: Lake Erie Islands Lighthouses
Note: The Lake Erie Islands form a ragged chain of "stepping stones" crossing the lake from the Marblehead Peninsula in Ohio to Point Pelée in Ontario, Canada. The three Bass Islands and Kelleys Island are the largest U.S. islands in the chain, but the largest island of all, Pelée Island, is Canadian. South Bass Island and Kelleys Island are accessible by ferry. See also Southwestern Ontario.
Green Island (2)
1865 (station established 1855). Inactive since 1939. Ruined square cylindrical limestone tower attached church-style to a 2-story limestone keeper's house. Tim Harrison has a Lighthouse Digest article on the lighthouse, but trees hide the ruins in Bing's satellite view of the island. The lighthouse has been gutted by fires set by vandals; it is on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. The Coast Guard has a 1904 photo of the intact light station. Recent reports indicate the building has almost completely collapsed into rubble. Located at the west end of a small island about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) northwest of the South Bass Island Light. Site and entire island closed (wildlife preserve). Owner/site manager: Ohio Division of Wildlife. ARLHS USA-353.
Green Island (3)
1939 (?) (station established 1855). Active; focal plane 80 ft (24 m); white flash every 2.5 s. 67 ft (20.5 m) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower with gallery. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has an aerial photo, MiddleBass.org has an aerial photo, and Adam Lewis has a very distant view, but the lighthouse is barely visible in Bing's satellite view. Located at the southwestern tip of the island. Site and tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Ohio Division of Wildlife. USCG 7-5535.
*** South Bass Island (1)
1897 (J.P. Bumpus). Inactive since 1962. 60 ft (18 m) square red brick tower attached to one corner of 2-1/2 story red brick Queen Anne style keeper's house. Lantern painted white with a red roof. The original 4th order Fresnel lens is on display at the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society museum in Put-in-Bay. A photo is at right, Bash has a 2011 closeup, a 2008 closeup and a 2009 view from the water are available, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse is a sibling of the Two Harbors Light in Minnesota. In 1967, Ohio State University leased the building as a biological and ecological research facility, and in 1997, when the lease expired, the lighthouse was transferred permanently to the university. In 2007, the University began offering tours of the lighthouse. Located at the southwestern end of the island. The island is accessible by ferries from Catawba Island and Port Clinton; these ferries pass the lighthouse. Site open, tower open for tours during the summer. Owner: Ohio State University. Site manager: Franz Theodore Stone Laboratory. ARLHS USA-769.
South Bass Island Light
South Bass Island Light, Put-In-Bay
Ohio State University photo
South Bass Island (3)
Date unknown (station established 1897). Active; focal plane 74 ft (22.5 m); red flash every 6 s. 70 ft (21 m) square steel skeletal tower with gallery. The tower also carries a NOAA C-MAN automatic weather station. Ohio Sea Grant has a closeup photo. This tower replaced a square pyramidal skeletal tower seen in a Coast Guard photo. Located adjacent to the historic lighthouse. Site and tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Franz Theodore Stone Laboratory. USCG 7-5530.
** Perry Memorial Monument
1915. Active; focal plane 335 ft (102 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 352 ft (107 m) round granite tower topped by a bronze urn. Floodlit at night. Alvin Trusty's photo is at right, Justin Rumao has a photo, Anderson has a good page with photos, Don Kennedy has a 2009 photo, and Bing has a satellite view. This is the tallest aid to navigation in the U.S., 75% taller than Cape Hatteras Light. The tower commemorates the 1813 naval victory of a U.S. fleet led by Oliver Perry over a British fleet; it also recognizes the peace that has prevailed between the U.S. and Canada since 1815. An elevator carries visitors to an observation deck 317 ft (96.5 m) above the lake. A new visitor center opened in May 2002. The tower was closed for repairs and restoration during 2012. Located on the northeastern portion of South Bass Island, which is accessible by ferries from Catawba Island and Port Clinton. Site open, visitor center and tower open daily late May through early September. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial. ARLHS USA-1317; USCG 7-5670.
Ballast Island (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1916). Active; focal plane 92 ft (28 m); white flash every 4 s. 67 ft (20.5 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower. A photo shows the historic brig Niagara passing the light in 2008, an aerial photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. The original light was described as a skeletal tower with an enlcosed base. Ballast Island is a small, privately owned island about 1.25 mi (2 km) northeast of South Bass Island and the same distance east of Middle Bass Island. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. USCG 7-5650.
* Camp Patmos
1971. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 21 ft (6.5 m); quick-flashing white light. 18 ft (5.5 m) round gray-shingled tower with lantern; lantern roof is black. Virginia Travis has a closeup photo, and Alfredo de la Fuente has a second photo, but trees hide the lighthouse in Bing's satellite view of the area. The lighthouse is part of a Baptist youth camp. Located on the northeastern point of Kelley's Island, which is accessible by ferry from Marblehead. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Camp Patmos. ARLHS USA-1245; USCG 7-5570.

Erie County (Sandusky Area) Lighthouses
* Lyman Harbor
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 43 ft (13 m); white flash every 4 s. 43 ft (13 m) square skeletal tower, upper half enclosed, with lantern and double gallery. Enclosed section painted red with yellow trim. A closeup photo and a second photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is part of an entertainment complex developed at the former Lyman Boat Works shipyard at 1615 First Street in Sandusky. Located at the end of the breakwater of the harbor; accessible by walking the pier. Site open, and visitors can climb to the lower gallery. Owner/site manager: Lyman Harbor. USCG 7-4945.

Perry Memorial Light
Perry Memorial, Put-In-Bay, July 2012
Flickr
Creative Commons photo by Alvin Trusty

Sandusky Moseley Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 77 ft (23.5 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, intensified on the range line. 77 ft (23.5 m) steel post centered on a round base; the tower carries red daymark panels on each side near the top. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This range guides vessels entering Sandusky Bay; the front light is on a similar but shorter tower. Located just off the Bay Point spit on the west side of the entrance. Accessible only by boat, but there's a good view from the point. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. USCG 7-4575.
Sandusky Straight Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 77 ft (23.5 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off, intensified on the range line. 77 ft (23.5 m) steel post centered on a round base; the tower carries red daymark panels on each side near the top. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. This range guides vessels leaving Sandusky Bay; the front light is on a similar but shorter tower. Located about 800 m (1/2 mi) northwest of Cedar Point. Accessible only by boat, but there's a good view from the point. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. USCG 7-4630.
[Sandusky Harbor Breakwater (2)]
1990s (station established 1935?). Active; focal plane 30 ft (9 m); white light occults every 4 s. Navigation beacon mounted atop a round cylindrical steel enclosure, painted white with a single green band. Bing has a satellite view. This is a "D9" tower similar to the Cleveland East Entrance Light. The former light (1935) at this location was a 20 ft (6 m) skeletal tower with square steel lantern room; the Coast Guard has a historic photo. This light was still in place as late as 1993. Located at the end of a rough stone breakwater extending into the lake at Cedar Point. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-730; USCG 7-4560.
* Cedar Point
1867. Inactive since 1904. 35 ft (11 m) square wood light tower centered on the roof of 1-1/2 story limestone keeper's house. The building, stripped of its light tower, continued in use as a buoy depot, then as a radio beacon station, and finally as a lifesaving station until 1975. The light tower was replaced as part of a thorough restoration in 2000-01; the site is now part of the Lighthouse Point Campground. Brandon Cirillo has an excellent photo, Rona Proudfoot has a photo, Donna Suchomelly has a 2010 photo, Wayne Sapulski has an article on the light station for Lighthouse Digest, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located at Cedar Point on the east side of the Sandusky Bay entrance. Site open, lighthouse status unknown (closed, according to Anderson). Owner/site manager: Cedar Point Amusement Park. ARLHS USA-926.
* Huron Harbor (3)
1936 (F.P. Dillon and W. G. Will) (station established 1835). Active; focal plane 80 ft (24 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 72 ft (22 m) Art Moderne steel square cylindrical tower on a square steel fog signal building, mounted on a stone foundation at the end of the breakwater. Lantern removed; solar-powered 375 mm lens exposed at the top of the tower. Entire lighthouse painted white. A 2011 photo is at right, Jarrod Will has a 2010 photo, Richardson and Klein have a photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo of the lighthouse showing the original lantern, and Google has a satellite view. Sibling of the Conneaut Harbor lighthouse (see below). This light was formerly operated by remote control from a small brick station on shore. The history of the station is a bit obscure. According to Anderson, the 1835 lighthouse was replaced by a skeletal iron tower with an enclosed upper section in 1857, and Schultheiss has an photo showing that tower. In 1900 the lower section was also enclosed. The Coast Guard Historian has a historic photo and Forand has a postcard view showing the fully enclosed tower. Today, the Army Corps of Engineers is building a 64-acre (28 ha) island with dredge spoil adjacent to the lighthouse; this will be a town park eventually (more than half the area has been filled). Located on a crib just off the end of the harbor breakwater, which has been developed by the city as a mile-long fishing pier. Accessible by walking the pier. There's a good view from Nickel Plate Park at the end of Nickel Plate Drive, off Tiffen Street in downtown Huron. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: City of Huron Parks and Recreation Department. ARLHS USA-393; USCG 7-4475.
Huron Harbor Light
Great blue heron and Huron Harbor Light, Huron, July 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Jstuby
* Vermilion (4)
1992 (replica of 1877 lighthouse). Station established 1847. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 35 ft (11 m); continuous red light. 16 ft (5 m) white octagonal cast iron tower, painted white with a red band at the base; lantern painted black. A 5th order Fresnel lens is in use. Rona Proudfoot has a good 2007 photo, Randy Colby has another good photo, and Google has a satellite view. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the original pierhead lighthouse, which was removed in 1929 after being damaged by winter ice from the lake. It was repaired at the lighthouse depot in Buffalo and relocated in 1935 to East Charity Shoals, Lake Ontario (see Upstate New York). The replica, built by the Great Lakes Historical Society using $55,000 in public contributions, was installed outside the society's lakefront Inland Seas Maritime Museum. In 2012, the museum closed in preparation for moving to a new site downtown, so in July ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the city. Located at the foot of Main Street, just off US 6 and OH 60 in downtown Vermilion. (The original stood nearby at the end of the Vermilion Harbor West Pier.) Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Vermilion. ARLHS USA-868; USCG 7-4451.
* Vermilion Water Tower
Date unknown (tower built about 1941). Active (privately maintained); focal plane 191 ft (58 m); white flash every 4 s. 150 ft (45.5 m) spherical water tank on a tall pedestal. Entire tower is white. Rona Proudfoot is a photo, the Akron Railroad Club has several photos (lower half of the page), and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The tower has held no water since 1992, but it has been maintained because it is such a familiar feature of the town's skyline and it is useful as a navgational aid. Located on West River Road just off US 6 in downtown Vermillion. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Vermilion. USCG 7-4429.

Lorain County Lighthouses
Lorain Harbor (4) (Lorain West Breakwater)
1917 (station established 1837). Reactivated (inactive 1966-2001?); focal plane 58 ft (17.5 m); red flash every 4 s. 51 ft (15.5 m) square tower rising from one corner of a 2-1/2 story reinforced concrete keeper's house. Building painted white with red roof. Downgraded in status to a minor aid, the light tower also carries a red triangular daymark. The original 4th order Fresnel lens was warehoused by the Coast Guard and then loaned in 1984 to the Charlotte-Genesee lighthouse in Rochester, New York. Courtney Emery's photo is at right, Anderson also has an excellent page for the lighthouse, Bob Bodnar has a nice photo, Wikimedia has several photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Forand has an old postcard photo, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. This lighthouse is often called the "Jewel of the Port" light. A local preservation group prevented demolition of the lighthouse in 1965, but preserving it over the years has required a sustained effort. The foundation was restored by the Corps of Engineers; exterior renovations were carried out in 1999. In 2003 the Black River Historical Society leased a nearby building to start a lighthouse museum; the society has a good page on the history of the lighthouse. In 2005 the Port of Lorain Foundation announced a campaign to raise $3 million to complete the restoration of the lighthouse, improve docking facilities, and develop the onshore building as a visitor center, museum, and gift shop. In 2007, the foundation demanded the return of the lens from Rochester, and the Coast Guard agreed to return the lens when the loan agreement ended in 2011. In 2013, a $190,000 state grant funded repainting and window replacement. In addition, the lens was refurbished for display by the Lorain Port Authority at its new ferry terminal building at Black River Landing when that facility opened in March 2014. A break-in at the lighthouse was reported in July 2013. Located at the end of the Lorain Harbor West Breakwater. View from boat ramps behind the water treatment plant at the foot of Oberlin Street in downtown Lorain. Site and tower closed except for guided tours offered during the summer (reservations required). Owner: Port of Lorain Foundation, Inc. Site manager: Lorain Lighthouse Foundation. ARLHS USA-453; USCG 7-4335.

1917 Lorain Harbor Light, Lorain, July 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Courtney Emery
Lorain Harbor (5) (Lorain East Breakwater)
1965. Active; focal plane 60 ft (18 m); white flash every 6 s. 55 ft (16.5 m) square cylindrical steel tower rising from a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted white with green trim. Fog horn (blast every 30 s) as needed. Rona Proudfoot has a photo, Matt Dempsey has a winter photo, Anderson has a small photo, Penberthy has a page for the lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. This tower replaced the 1917 lighthouse (previous entry) as the official Lorain Harbor Light. Usually omitted from lists of Ohio lighthouses, it attracts almost no attention. Located at the end of the detached Lorain Harbor East Outer Breakwater. Accessible only by boat. There's a view from boat ramps behind the water treatment plant at the foot of Oberlin Street in downtown Lorain. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1037; USCG 7-4320.

Cuyuhoga County (Cleveland City) Lighthouses
Cleveland Waterworks Intake Crib
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 55 ft (17 m); quick-flashing white light. 17 m (56 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower, unpainted; the light is shown from a small quadrupod mounting on the roof. Fog horn (one 3 s blast every 30 s). Ecowatch Ohio has a 2009 photo of the crib, which carries a tall mast collecting data on the feasibility of installing wind turbines in the area. Located in the lake about 4 km (2.5 mi) northwest of the harbor entrance. There should be distant views from Edgewater or Lakewood Parks on the west side of downtown Cleveland. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. USCG 7-4030.
Cleveland Harbor Main Entrance (West Pierhead) (2)
1911 (station established 1884). Active; focal plane 63 ft (19 m); flash every 5 s, alternating red and white. 67 ft (20 m) round cast iron sparkplug style tower incorporating 3-story keeper's quarters and attached to a 1-1/2 story cast iron fog signal building (1916); solar-powered 300 mm lens (?). Building painted white, lantern black with red roof. The original 4th order Fresnel lens is on display at the Great Lakes Science Center. Fog horn (2 blasts every 30 s) as needed. The lighthouse is floodlit at night. A photo is at right, Bash has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has an aerial view. The first lighthouse was relocated here from the Rochester, New York, West Pierhead; Forand has a historic postcard view. In 1911 the breakwater was extended and the older light was demolished. In 2007 the lighthouse was offered for transfer under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. There were no takers, and in 2010 the lighthouse was offered a second time. Located on a concrete platform at the end of the stone pier. Accessible only by boat (pier does not connect to shore); harbor cruises provide a good view. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-178; USCG 7-4160.
Cleveland Harbor East Breakwater (East Pierhead)
1911. Active; focal plane 39 ft (12 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 31 ft (9.5 m) round cast iron tower; solar-powered 300 mm lens. Tower white, lantern black. Schultheiss has a photo, Rona Proudfoot's panoramic photo shows both pierhead lighthouses, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Bing has an aerial view. In 2005, the Coast Guard removed the lighthouse temporarily in order to repair the pier; a photo shows that it was back by November. In 2007 the lighthouse was offered for transfer under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. There were no takers, and in August 2009 the lighthouse was sold at auction for $10,000 to Gary Zaremba, president of the Artisan Restoration Group of New York. Zaremba said he "plans to rent it out to boaters looking for a place to dock and enjoy the downtown skyline." Located on a concrete platform at the end of the stone pier. Accessible only by boat (pier does not connect to shore); harbor cruises provide a good view. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-177; USCG 7-4165.
Cleveland Harbor Light
Harbor Main Entrance Light, Cleveland, July 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by tde1973
[Cleveland East Entrance (4?)]
Date unknown (station established 1915). Active; focal plane 59 ft (18 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. Red lens mounted on a 47 ft (14 m) round cylindrical steel tower, painted white with a red band. Google has a satellite view. This modern aid to navigation is a "D9" tower like many other pierhead lights on the Great Lakes. It is at least the fourth light on the breakwater. The Coast Guard has a historic photo showing two earlier lights, and the Shanklins have a photo of another light that preceded the present light. Located at the extreme eastern end of the breakwaters protecting Cleveland Harbor, near I-90 exit 176. Accessible only by boat (the pier does not connect to shore). There are good views from Cleveland Lakefront State Park. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. USCG 7-4060.

Lake County (Fairport Harbor) Lighthouses
Fairport Harbor West Breakwater
1925. Active; focal plane 56 ft (17 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 42 ft (13 m) square cast iron tower attached to a 2-story cast iron keeper's house; 300 mm lens. Building painted white with red roof. Fog horn (2 blasts every 30 s). Sibling of the Lorain Light (above). Wikimedia has a photo by Laszlo Ilyes, Bill Britten has a good photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Lighthouse Digest has Tim Harrison's feature story on the history of Fairport lighthouses, and Bing has an aerial view. In 2005, the lighthouse became available for transfer under NHLPA. One or more applicants were granted extensions, but ultimately no satisfactory application was received. In late September 2009, the General Services Administration offered the lighthouse for sale online. It was sold for $77,000 to Jerome T. Osborne, a local businessman and contractor, who said he intended to preserve the lighthouse and work to open it to the public. However, Osborne defaulted on the purchase, and in July 2010 the lighthouse was back up for auction. In October it was sold to Scott Monroe, of Seabrook, Texas, for $82,500. However, Monroe failed to complete his purchase, and the lighthouse was back on the auction block in May 2011. This time it was sold to Sheila Consaul of Reston, Virginia, who is renovating the lighthouse as a summer residence. She has established a web site for the lighthouse. Work during summer 2012 included roof repairs and window replacement. In June 2013 Ms. Consaul held an open house to show area residents the progress of the work. Located close to the end of the stone breakwater; the breakwater is reported to be uneven and somewhat dangerous to walk. At the very end of the breakwater is the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Extension Light, a post light (focal plane 46 ft; red flash every 2.5 s; USCG 7-3865). There's a good view from nearby Headlands Beach State Park. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-280; USCG 7-3870.
* [Fairport Harbor West Pier]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 ft (6 m); continuous red light. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical "D9" tower, painted white with one horizontal red band. Anderson has a photo showing the Grand River lighthouse in the background, and Bing has an aerial view. Located at the end of a short pier on the west side of the entrance to the Grand River. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. USCG 7-3880.
** Grand River (Fairport Harbor) (2)
1871 (station established 1825). Inactive since 1925. 69 ft (21 m) unpainted round sandstone tower; original 3rd order Fresnel lens still mounted in tower. A well-preserved light station with the original 2-story brick keeper's quarters, steel oil house (1904), barn, and other structures. Sibling of the Erie Land Light in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Doug Kerr's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page for the station, Lighthouse Digest has a feature on the lights and lost lights of Fairport Harbor, Forand has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and an aerial view. Local protests prevented the demolition of the lighthouse when it was replaced by the breakwater light in 1925. In 1945, the Fairport Harbor Historical Society was founded specifically to establish a maritime museum in the old lighthouse. Located at Second and High Streets in Fairport Harbor. Site open, museum and tower open (small admission fee) in the afternoons on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays late May through mid September; group tours available May 1 through November 1. Owner/site manager: Fairport Harbor Marine Museum. ARLHS USA-279.

Ashtabula County Lighthouses
Ashtabula Harbor (3)
1905 (station established 1836). Active; focal plane 51 ft (15.5 m); yellow flash every 6 s. 40 ft (12 m) round cylindrical tower rising from the center of the roof of a 2-story square wood keeper's house; building painted white with a red roof. Original fog signal building attached as an annex. Anderson has photos and the history of the station, Marinas.com has aerial photos, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has an aerial view. The lighthouse was relocated 1750 ft (533 m) to the end of the breakwater in 1916; at the same time it was expanded substantially to provide quarters for the keepers. The previous 2-story wood keeper's house (1871-1898) on shore is now the Ashtabula Marine Museum; a 4th order Fresnel lens (1896), used here 1959-1995, is on display. Lighthouse Digest has a March 2006 article on restoration of the Fresnel lens by Jim Woodward. The lighthouse survived a collision with the Canadian steamer Gleneagles in 1927. The Ashtabula Lighthouse Restoration and Preservation Society was formed to work for restoration of the lighthouse. In 2004 the National Park Service recommended transfer of the lighthouse to the society under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, and the transfer was completed in April 2007. In July, there was a proposal to construct a walkway on the breakwater to provide access to the lighthouse. Located near the end of the west breakwater, which extends 1.3 mi (2.1 km) into the lake. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed except for occasional guided tours; museum open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and holiday afternoons Memorial Day through August, Saturdays and Sundays in September; tower closed. Owner/site manager: Ashtabula Lighthouse Restoration and Preservation Society. ARLHS USA-020; USCG 7-3745.
Fairport Harbor Light
Grand River Light, Fairport Harbor, November 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Doug Kerr
* Conneaut Harbor (West Breakwater) (5)
1936 (F.P. Dillon and W. G. Will) (station established 1835). Active; focal plane 80 ft (24 m); flash every 5 s, alternating red and white. 70 ft (21 m) square cylindrical Art Moderne steel tower on a square base, mounted on a stone foundation at the end of the breakwater. 375 mm lens. The lantern was removed in 1972. Lighthouse painted white with a single black band. Schultheiss has a good photo by Greg Lortz, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and the Coast Guard has a historic photo showing the original lantern. The Conneaut Port Authority's photo gallery has several images including a closeup view. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the third (1890s) lighthouse, which was at the end of a nearby pier. This lighthouse replaced a massive masonry lighthouse built in 1917. In late 2008, the General Services Administration sold the lighthouse at auction for $35,000 to Gary Zaremba. However, Zaremba abandoned his purchase after he was unable to get a lease for the bottomlands from the State of Ohio. The lighthouse was back on the auction block in 2011, and this time it was sold for $46,000 to Jerry Killilea Jr., a businessman, delivery truck driver and part-time farmer from Orient, Ohio. Located at the end of the breakwater west of the entrance to Conneaut Harbor (Conneaut is pronounced "con-e-aught"). Accessible by walking the pier; there's also a good view from Lakeview City Park. Site and tower closed. Owner: U.S. General Services Administration. Operator: U.S. Coast Guard. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-190; USCG 7-3705.

Inland Lighthouses

Grand Lake St. Mary's (Mercer County) Lighthouses
Note: Grand Lake St. Mary's is a rather shallow lake about 8 mi (13 km) long and 3 mi (5 km) wide, located mostly in Mercer County southwest of Lima in western Ohio. The principal towns on the lake are Celina at the northwestern corner and St. Mary's at the northeastern corner.
* Celina
1986. Active; focal plane 50 ft (15 m); white light. 40 ft (12 m) round conical tower on a circular stone base; observation platform at the top of the base. Tower painted white, lantern black. A photo is at right, Anderson has a nice page on the lighthouse, Huelse has a postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Built as a civic improvement project by the Celina Rotary Club, this is one of the best known "inland" lighthouses of the U.S. Located on South Main Street off US 127 and OH 29 in downtown Celina. Site and observation platform open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Celina.
Northwood
1923. Inactive for many years. Tall (65 ft?) round conical tower, painted white; lantern is gray. Anderson has a page with a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. Anderson describes the tower as being 50 ft (15 m) tall, but it appears taller in the photos. Located at the end of Northwood Dr off county road 703 on the north shore of Grand Lake St. Mary's about 5 mi (8 km) east of Celina. Visible from boats on the lake. Site and tower closed (private property). Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-928.
* Grimm Memorial (Behm's Landing)
2003. Active; focal plane about 52 ft (16 m); white light. 48 ft (14.5 m) octagonal stucco-clad tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. Anderson has a page with good photos, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse was built by Stan and Laura Grimm in memory of their son Stan, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1997. The light marks the entrance to a creek lined by private homes. Located on an island on the south shore of the lake at Behm's Landing; there's a good view from Behm's Restaurant, 5490 Behm Road. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private.
Celina Light
Celina Light, Celina, May 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jerry

Atwood Lake (Tuscarawas County) Lighthouse
* Lighthouse Bistro
1955. Active; focal plane 56 ft (17 m); continuous white light. 46 ft (14 m) round concrete block tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery red. Kevin Borland has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. Atwood Lake is a large artificial lake in Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties in eastern Ohio, east of Dover. Located at a restaurant at the Atwood West Marina, on the northwest side of the lake. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Lighthouse Bistro.

Buckeye Lake North Shore (Licking County) Lighthouses
Note: Buckeye Lake is a nineteenth-century reservoir located roughly 30 mi (19 km ) east of Columbus in central Ohio. The lake is about 16 km (10 mi) long but only 500-1000 m (0.3-0.6 mi) wide. Lighthouses are a popular feature of the lake and there are several active private lights along the lakeshore as well as a number of faux lighthouses.
Cranberry Channel
1996. Active; focal plane 27 ft (8 m); flashing amber light. 30 ft (9 m) tower, lower story square and upper story octagonal, with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story residence. Tower covered with gray shingles; lantern painted white with a red roof. Aaron Winchell has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. This light marks the narrowest point of the passage between the north shore of the lake and its most unique feature, the Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve just offshore. The house and lighthouse were built by Richard Baker. Located at the end of Beacon Light Lane. Site and tower closed (private property), so the light is best seen from the lake. Owner/site manager: private.
* Buckeye Lake Yacht Club
Date unknown (building dates from 1913). Active; focal plane 40 ft (12 m); flashing white light. 48 ft (14.5 m) square cupola centered on a 2-story clubhouse buidling. Building painted white; roofs are red. Marc Haserodt has a good photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located just off the north side of the central section of the lake. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Buckeye Lake Yacht Club.

Buckeye Lake South Shore (Perry County) Lighthouses
* Snug Harbor
Date unknown (around 2010). Active; focal plane about 65 ft (20 m); flashing red light. 48 ft (14.5 m) square masonry tower attached to a 2-story clubhouse buidling. Building painted tan; lantern painted black. Snug Harbor is an upscale development on the south side of the lake; it includes a sheltered harbor created by cutting a new channel from the lake to a nearby pond. Bing has a satellite view. Located at the harbor entrance off Custer Point Road on the south central section of the lake. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Snug Harbor Village.
Heron Bay (Beacon Point)
1994. Active; focal plane 26 ft (8 m); flashing red light. 18 ft (5.5 m) octagonal wood tower with lantern, painted white; lantern painted black. Gregory Hamilton has a photo, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the end of Shoreline Drive marking the narrow entrance to the inner canals of the original Heron Bay development, near the southeastern end of the lake. Site and tower closed (private property), so the light is best seen from the lake. Owner/site manager: private homeowners association.
Vista Point
1998. Active; focal plane about 40 ft (12 m); flashing red light. 44 ft (13.5 m) octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern and gallery painted red. Gregory Hamilton has a photo, a 2009 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of Vista Point Drive in Heron Bay, at the extreme southeastern corner of the lake, marking the entrance to the canals of the Vista Point neighborhood. Site and tower closed (private property), so the light is best seen from the lake. Owner/site manager: private.
 

Ohio River (Hamilton County) Lighthouse
* Coney Island
About 1925. Inactive for many years. 58 ft (18 m) round unpainted rubblestone tower with lantern and gallery. Bill Eichelberger's photo is at right, the lighthouse is seen in a photo of the Coney Island entrance, and Google has an aerial view. Coney Island is not an island at all; it is an amusement park on the Ohio River above Cincinnati. The park is much diminished from its former size, and much of the site is now occupied by the Riverbend Music Center. The lighthouse stands at the former park entrance; originally it carried a rotating light guiding excursion boats. Located near the riverbank off Kellogg Avenue a short distance southwest of the I-275 bridge. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Coney Island Park.
Coney Island Light
Coney Island Light, Cincinnati, June 2005
Flickr photo copyright Bill Eichelberger; used by permission

Information on Lost Lighthouses

Notable faux lighthouses:

  • Cedar Point (2007?); in addition to the real lighthouse (see above), a tall faux lighthouse has been built near Cedar Point.
  • Harbor Inn (1985), Portage Lakes, has a lighthouse that operated while the restaurant was open, but it had little or no navigational value.

Adjoining pages: North: Southwestern Ontario | East: Northwestern Pennsylvania | West: Michigan's Eastern Lower Peninsula

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index

Last checked and revised March 24, 2014. Lighthouses: 43. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.