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The Historic South Bass Island Lighthouse


The historic South Bass Island Lighthouse is in a beautiful area of the island. A cliff overlooking Lake Erie.

Some interesting tidbits from google:
South Bass Island Light is a lighthouse on the southern end of its eponymous island in Lake Erie. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 5, 1990 and is thought to be the only lighthouse in the United States owned by a university – Ohio State. The Ohio State University has a fish hatchery and aquatic research center on the island. They also own the Lighthouse.

The South Bass Island Lighthouse was managed by a keeper until 1962 when it was automated.

From the Put-In-Bay Visitors Website:
The United States Lighthouse Board requested funds for a lighthouse in 1890 but it took some time to raise the desired amount of $8600 for its construction. Originally planned for placement on the northern tip, Lieutenant Charles T. Platt decided the extreme southern tip would be much better for a brand new lighthouse. So sure was Lt. Platt, he even carved “LH” into a tree on the site.

Unlike the more typical designs of the day, the lighthouse consists of a large, two-and-a-half story, red brick dwelling with an attached, twelve-foot-square tower. The tower stands forty-five feet tall and crowned with a fourth-order L. Sautter & Cie., Fresnel lens that produces a fixed red light with the use of a ruby chimney in its lamp.

The tower was lit for the first time in 1897 by keeper Harry H. Riley. The lighthouse was now ready to perform its daily duties during the shipping season, which ran from March to late December. Mrs. Riley took charge of the lighthouse after her husband’s untimely death.

The next keeper, Charles Duggan cultivated the surrounding land with a vineyard occupying eight acres. He fell to his death in 1925. The history of the lighthouse is wide and varied. A very interesting monument on Put-in-Bay indeed.

South Bass Island Lighthouse is currently home to OSU research and academic staff. The lighthouse and grounds opened to the public in 2007 when the university decided to start offering tours during the summer. Besides the lighthouse and a modern replacement light tower, an 1899 barn and an 1897 oil house remain standing on the property.

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