MARBLEHEAD, Ohio (WJW)– Lake Erie is home to more than 20 lighthouses, some dating back to the early 18th century. Built long before GPS navigation, they marked our shorelines and helped maritime captains gain safety entry to the harbors.
Today, many of them are still operational and make for popular destinations for tourists.
The Marblehead Lighthouse was built in the fall of 1821 and now, it’s Ohio’s most-photographed building. Dennis Kennedy, president of the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society, said about 25,000 people climb the lighthouse each year with about 30,000 to 35,000 touring the other buildings. Inside the museum is the lighthouse’s original lens, which contained 13 whale oil-burning lamps.
“Each one had to be filled and it took about 80 pounds of whale oil a night, It had to be carried up a series of wooden ladders to keep the lights burning,” Kennedy said.
To the east is the Vermilion Lighthouse. While you can’t go inside, it’s nice to sit on the beach and enjoy the view.
The city of Lorain is home to West Breakwater Light, also called the “jewel of the port.” It’s available to tour during the summer months.
In Cleveland, there’s the Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River.
As we continue east, Fairport Harbor has two lighthouses: Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light and the Fairport Marine Museum and Lighthouse.
“This is one you can actually go in and climb the 69 steps that lead out to an observation tower. Then you can walk around outside and you have a spectacular view of Lake Erie and the Grand River,” said Mary Alyce Gladding, president of the Fairport Harbor Historical Society.
And best of all, it’s just a One Tank Trip.