The Marblehead Lighthouse

Sunrise at the Marblehead Lighthouse - Click image to enlarge

Recently while going through some old photographs, I found an envelope full of photos I had taken of the kids at the Marblehead Lighthouse.  Given their ages at the time, I guessed that the photos were taken in 1992, so it had been 18 years since I last visited the lighthouse.  I thought it was definitely time for another visit, this time without the kids!  After some research I decided that the best time to photograph the lighthouse would be at sunrise, and on the late July day I planned to be there the moon would also be in a position in the sky so that it could be included in my images. In order to get there before sunrise I had to leave home at 3 AM, ugh! I remember looking at the clock in the car at 3:30 AM and thinking “This is crazy, you haven’t been to the lighthouse in almost 20 years, hopefully you can find it in the dark!”  Fortunately I kept going and as you can see in the image above it was worth the effort. When I arrived, it was very quiet and peaceful around the lighthouse and a another early riser was just starting to paddle his kayak out to watch the sunrise. I was blessed with a beautiful sunrise, with clouds to reflect the warm red, orange, and yellow colors of sunrise which enhanced the charm and character of the Marblehead Lighthouse.

The Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest, continuously operational lighthouse on the Great Lakes. Found on the northernmost tip of the Marblehead Peninsula in Ohio, this popular lighthouse’s history began in 1819 when the fifteenth U.S. Congress decided that the area was too dangerous to be navigated without some sort of beacon.  Funding was allocated for the construction of a light tower at the entrance to Sandusky Bay at Bay Point, Ohio.  Construction began in the late summer of 1821 and was completed 11 weeks later in November. Called the “Sandusky Bay Light” until 1870, the tower’s illustrious history boasts the first female lighthouse keeper in the United States (1832, Rachel Wolcott, wife of the first light keeper Benajah Wolcott), a rare three and one-half order Fresnel lens and a functional iron staircase dating to the early 1900’s. A masonry finish covers the original limestone exterior of the lighthouse. Inside you’ll find a brick stack constructed in the late 1800’s to raise the tower’s height by fifteen feet. The view from the top showcases several Lake Erie islands and a view of the Cleveland shoreline on clear days. The keeper’s house was built in 1880 and is now a museum staffed by historical society volunteers. A total of fifteen keepers have tended the light. The United States Coast guard is now responsible for the maintenance of the beacon.

You can see more of my Marblehead Lighthouse images in my gallery here. If you have any questions about this image or my photography, please click here to email me.

To find out more about the Marblehead Lighthouse, visit the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society or the Marblehead Lighthouse page at

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