Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The Joseph Medill Fireboat Engine 37 sits on land in Escanaba, MI. It was built in 1946 and has dimensions of 92' x 23' Built By: Bay Ship Building Sturgeon Bay, WI. It has seen better days. This boat is now stripped to the bone. She was purchased to be stripped and sunk off Milwaukee as a dive attraction. The State of WI, inspected her and said no way due to environmental hazards. So here she has sat since at least 2004-2005. No plans for her any time soon. Restoration would be very expensive. But as scrap prices keep getting up there that may happen. Does make for a nice rustic picture.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Here is an image of the Escanaba Carnegie library which was built in a neo-classical revival design in 1902. A Carnegie library is a library built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built between 1883 and 1929, including some belonging to public and university library systems. 1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in Britain and Ireland, 125 in Canada, and others in Australia, New Zealand, Serbia, the Caribbean, and Fiji.
Friday, November 25, 2011
My last lighthouse picture is of Pilot Island Lighthouse.
The original Port des Morts light was built on Plum Island in 1846. Maritime interests complained that the light was too far west into the Deaths Door Passage and that light further east and south would be more useful. The Lighthouse Board recommended a change in location, and on May 28, 1858, President Buchanan reserved the 3.5 acre island then known as Port du Morts from the public domain for a lighthouse site.
In 1858 the Port des Morts Light was rebuilt on Port du Morts Island as a two story rectangular, cream-colored brick dwelling. A square tower projected from the roof at the western gable of the house and was topped with a ten-sided cast iron lantern containing a fourth order Fresnel lens. The base of the tower was 11 feet above lake level, and the focal plane of the light was 46 feet above lake level. Because of the frequent fogs in the area, in 1864 a fog signal consisting of a trumpet blown by means of a caloric engine went into operation. After many complaints about the poor quality of the fog signal, in 1875 the Lighthouse Board erected a more powerful steam siren a the station. In the official reports in 1875, the location of the Port du Morts Light changed from Port du Morts to Pilot Island, as it is known today. Because of the time it took to recycle the steam engine and get steam up, and because of the need for a back up in case of repairs, a duplicate steam siren was erected in 1880 in its own separate building. Earlier a boat house and landing had been built on the east side of the island. Because of the exposed position of the station, it was often impossible to land or leave Pilot Island for days at a time. In 1891, a new pier and boat house were built on the west side of the island. This helped, but there were still times that Lake Michigan made it too rough to land on the island. Later various different fog signals were used until 1904 when a compressed air system replaced the old steam-operated signals. The dwelling was then enlarged to provide separate quarters for the keeper and first assistant. Each had an entrance,stairways, five rooms, and a cellar. The unused fog signal building was converted into a dwelling for the second assistant keeper. There were also an oil house, privy barn, workshop, and several other small buildings at the station. All were connected by walkways.
Pilot Island was viewed by some as a dreary, bleak, isolated, fog-shrouded spot, although the records show the fog signals at the Sturgeon Bay Canal Light operated more frequently than at Pilot Island. Victor Rohn, a Civil War Veteran, who was keeper from 1866 to 1876, once disparagingly compared it with Libby Prison, the infamous Civil War prison. And while much is made of first assistant keeper John Boyce's suicide on June 20, 1880, it appears depression caused by a lost love was more the cause than depression resulting from his assignment on Pilot Island. In fact, the keepers regularly visited Washington Island and the mainland for mail and supplies as well as to see family members. A surprising number of people came to picnic and chat with the keepers and their families. In September, 1890, Ben Fagg, a Sturgeon Bay printer, visited the light and wrote, "This is truly an isolated spot but I have spent five days on Pilot Island and they are among the happiest days of my eventuality....On moonlight nights it is like being in a dream of ideality to walk alone on the moss-covered rocks and listen to the swish of the breakers that break over the breakwater a the boat landing, hear them roaring on all sides of the little island, and to see huge vessels under full sail crossing the moonglade on their way through the Door. One seems to be completely separated from all that is worldly and bad. There is no field for gossip out here. The land is not suitable for general farming purposes, but it is a splendid place to raise an ample crop of good, pure thoughts." Fagg then went on to describe the steam fog sirens at the station, one of which was a duplicate of one on display at the Paris World's Fair. According to Fagg, when the siren sounded, "...all the lights in the signal house must be hung by strings to prevent them from going out. The sound is so intense that no chicken can be hatched on the island, as the vibration kills them in the egg, and it causes milk to curdle in a few minutes."
In 1962 the fog signal was no longer considered essential to assist shipping and it was removed. At the same time the station was automated. Today the grounds are overgrown and only the dwelling and empty fog signal house remain as reminders of the days when faithful keepers manned the station, making sure the light shown out through the dark; and the fog signal sounded when the fogs obscured the passage.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Plum Island Lighthouse is inaccessible from land, but one way to see this lighthouse is to take the Washington Island Ferry when making the trip from the Door peninsula to Washington Island, which is how I took this image.
The first light designed to guide ships negotiating the eastern entrance of the Port des Morts passage was constructed on Plum Island in 1846. Complaining that the light was located too far west of the passage entrance to be of any use to shipping, various influential maritime interests lobbied he Lighthouse Board to move the light to a more easterly location where it would better suit its' intended purpose.
On May 28 1858, title to the 3.5-acre island then known as Port Du Morts was transferred to the Lighthouse board for the construction of the new light station, and later that same year the Plum Island station was abandoned, and a new station reconstructed on Pilot Island. Without maintenance, the old Plum Island lighthouse quickly began to deteriorate, and by 1863 the roof had caved-in, leaving only the chimney and four crumbling walls. With continuing growth in vessel traffic through the Passage, in 1890 the Lighthouse Board recommended to Congress that an appropriation of $21,000 be made to construct range lights and a fog signal on the southwesterly portion of Plum Island to help guide vessels between Plum Island and the tip of the peninsula.
Congress ignored the Board's recommendation until February 15, 1893 when an appropriation was finally approved, however no monies were appropriates for the project, and without funding, work could not begin.Finally, in 1895, as a result of a number or wrecks in the passage, the Life Saving Service requested that they receive funding for the construction of life saving station on Plum Island. With a double purpose planned for the Island, and on March 15 of that year Congress acted with the necessary appropriations for the construction of both facilities. In August of the following year, a thirty-man crew was deposited on the island, and work began with clearing the thick forest for their work camp, and a large clearing between the planned locations of the range lights. Over the following four months, a barn, boathouse, docks, fog signal building and twenty five hundred feet of wooden walkways took shape.They also cleared a site for the fog signal and a connecting roadway. The crew built a barn, boathouse, and several piers. At the same time, they built the concrete foundation for the rear range light and began building the two-story brick keeper's dwelling. Finally on December 4th, 1896, with their work complete, the crew packed-up and abandoned the island for the winter.
Chosen as the station's first keeper, Martin Knudson was transferred from Pilot Island, and exhibited the lights for the first time on May 1, 1897.The front light was a virtual duplicate of the Front Range light built at Bailey's Harbor some twenty-seven years earlier. With a square base and an octagonal second story, integrated lantern room contained a fixed red Sixth Order Fresnel with a focal plane of thirty-two feet. The light was displayed through a small single window, designed to limit visibility to within a relatively narrow viewing arc to help vessels in attaining the range.Some sixteen hundred feet to the north, the rear range light consisted of a white cylindrical tower containing a tightly spiraling staircase. Atop the central cylinder sat a circular watch room some eight feet in diameter with surrounding gallery, and an octagonal iron lantern room with its own smaller gallery. From the watch room gallery, four cylindrical legs reached out to the ground to provide support for the gallery and lantern room, equipped with a fixed red Fourth Order Fresnel lens. With a total height of sixty-five feet, the lens boasted a focal plane of eighty feet, and was visible from a distance of thirteen miles.
Completing the station was a large duplex brick keeper's dwelling with a tramway for carrying supplies from a pier on the shore and a brick fog signal building equipped with a steam-operated siren.With the Coast Guard's assumption of responsibility for the lighthouses of the United States in 1939, the piers and boathouse were removed, and the dwelling was emptied, and the crew assigned to the light moved to share the Life Saving Station.
The wooden front range light was replaced with a steel skeletal tower in 1964, and both lights were automated in 1969.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Cana Island Lighthouse with its low dwelling and tall white tower surmounted by two story black lantern is perhaps Door County's most photographed, painted, and videotaped lighthouse. Perhaps this is because it looks most like what people think a lighthouse should look like.
When the Lighthouse Board decided to replace rather than repair the Baileys Harbor Lighthouse, they chose to build the new lighthouse on 8.7 acre Cana Island between Moonlight Bay and North Bay. Congress appropriated funds in the spring of 1869. Once funds were appropriated, a Lighthouse Board crew began clearing about three acres at the eastern end of the low island.
Construction of the Lighthouse
The crew built, on a rock foundation, a 42 ' x 20 ' story and one-half keeper's dwelling, and an 8' x 10 ' covered walkway connecting the dwelling to the light tower. The crew next erected an 18' diameter tower that tapers to 16' in diameter at the base of the watch room and rises 65' above the foundation. The entire complex was built of cream-colored Milwaukee brick. In 1869, the tower was the tallest brick structure in Door County. Whether Cana Island is really an island or just the end of the peninsula depends on the level of Lake Michigan. The causeway leading to Cana Island is a natural feature, although at times foot bridges have connected the island to the mainland.
Because it sticks out into the Lake, Cana Island is terribly exposed to both wind and wave. The shallowness of the waters around the island cause storm waves to break offshore, but this only partially lessens their effect. In the late 1870s and early 1880s, Keeper Warren Sanderson and his family experienced several very dramatic times when storms flooded the area around the lighthouse with water several feet deep. At other times, waters flooded the cellar and ran through the kitchen. During the famous Alpena Gale in October 1880, storm waves actually swept through the house. To help halt the flooding, in 1890 the Lighthouse Board ordered the filling in of nearly one-half acre of low swampy land surrounding the lighthouse.
Cana Island's cast iron lantern atop the tower has two levels, the watch room at the top of the tower surmounted by the lantern room containing the lighthouse's lens, which is a third order Fresnel lens built in Paris, France. The focal plane of the lens is 75' above the base of the tower and approximately 82 ' above lake level.
William Jackson, the first keeper, officially lit the light on January 24, 1870. Keeper Oscar H. Knudson built the stone wall at the edge of the lawn around the lighthouse. Keeper Clifford Sanderson lived on Cana Island as a child and returned as a keeper. Keeper Ross Wright was one of the last civilian keepers of the light.
When World War II broke out, the Coast Guard took over Cana Island Station and has maintained the light ever since. In the 1970s, the Door County Maritime Museum, desirous of preserving a part of Door County's maritime heritage, leased Cana Island from the Federal Government and opened the Island to visitors. The dwelling and tower, however, were not opened to visitors. Few of the many visitors to Cana Island today realize that the tower and dwelling were originally constructed of the same cream colored brick. Today, from the outside, no evidence remains of the tower's brick construction. In 1902, the deteriorating condition of the brickwork prompted the Lighthouse Board to encase the tower in steel plates. The tower was then painted white. The light, now powered by electricity, is turned on automatically at dusk and off at dawn, and still shines out across the water to guide sailors as it has done since Keeper Jackson first lit the light in 1870.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
The Door Peninsula is a long, thin finger of land which juts north into Lake Michigan. French voyageurs experiencing violent seas in the passage between the peninsula and Washington Island named the passage Porte des Mort" which translates as "Door of the Dead." When deciding on a name for a new county to include the entire peninsula in 1851, the Wisconsin Legislature decided to drop the latter part of the name, and settled on Door County.In the fall of 1848, Captain Justice Bailey encountered a fierce October storm while traversing the Eastern Shore of the peninsula, and carrying a full complement of passengers, decided to seek shelter from the worsening storm. Pulling into a sheltered bay, and dropping anchor to ride out the storm, the Captain took the opportunity to explore some of the shore. Finding limestone, pine, maple and beech trees, Bailey reported his discovery to Mr. Alison Sweet, his shipping master.
In 1849, working parties established logging and mining camps in the area, and 2,500 cords of lumber were shipped from the harbor. The following year, a group of log cabins were built in a cluster on the shore, and a road was cut from the harbor to the Green Bay shoreline. Thus the first village in the Door Peninsula grew on the shores of what had come to be known as "Bailey's harbor."In these early days, Bailey's Harbor was the only real harbor of refuge north of Milwaukee. By the early 1850's the harbor became increasingly busy with a combination of vessels seeking refuge from the fury of Lake Michigan and those entering the harbor to load outbound shipments of lumber. In 1853 a lighthouse was established on the Northeast side of the harbor.
In 1867 the Inspector for the 11th Lighthouse District reported that the approach to the harbor was extremely difficult due to the numerous shoals at the harbor's entrance, and proposed that range lights be constructed on the west shore in order to make safe entrance easier. On July 20th of the following year, Congress appropriated $6,000 for the construction of a pair of lights, and a Lighthouse Board construction crew arrived to begin construction in the summer of 1869.Work first began on the thirty six-foot by twenty-four foot combination keeper's dwelling and rear range light. With a total of seven rooms, the one and a half story structure featured a full width front porch and a shed-roofed kitchen attached to the rear. A square tower was installed at the front end of the gable. Since by their very nature, range lights were designed to be viewed from within a relatively narrow field of vision, there was no need to crown the tower with a standard lantern room. Instead, the tower was equipped with a large window on the side facing the lake allowing the fixed white Fifth Order Fresnel contained within to cast its beam directly toward the lake.
With work on the rear range light complete, the crew then began construction of the front range light, located some nine hundred feet towards the shore. While from all practical purposes the structure could have been a simple square tower, however the Lighthouse Board elected to adorn the building with an eight foot by eight foot square footprint at ground level, transitioning to an octagonal cross section at a point twelve feet above the ground. Once again, a window was placed on the side facing the lake from which the fixed red Fifth Order Fresnel lens could be seen from the lake. In order to allow the keeper to observe the lamp from within the rear range light, and to keep an eye on the rear range light when working within the front range light, a small window was also installed at the rear of the tower. At a total height of twenty-one feet, the light the lens sat at a focal plane of twenty-three feet, as a result of it's position on the shore
Fabian Trudell, the first keeper of the Bailey's Harbor range lights, proudly exhibited them for the first time at the opening of the 1870 navigation season.Sitting at a focal plane of thirty-nine feet, the rear range light was seventeen feet higher than the twenty two-foot focal plane of the front range light. Thus, by design, vessels seeing the lights from the lake could steer to a point at which the white light of the rear range was directly above the red light of the front range, maintaining this heading, safe passage was guaranteed to vessels all the way into the harbor.In 1897, the Front Range light's optic was replaced with a 5th order locomotive headlight equipped with a parabolic mirror to increase the light's output. In 1923, both lights were converted to acetylene fueled systems. With this conversion, the lights no longer required the constant attention that could only be afforded by a dedicated keeper, and responsibility for the maintenance of the Bailey's Harbor range lights was transferred to the Cana Island keepers, and all but the tower window was locked-down and boarded-up.
In 1930, both lights were electrified, and the Immanuel Lutheran Church of Baileys Harbor was granted permission to use the rear range keepers dwelling as a parsonage. In 1934, permission was granted to the Door County Park Commission to use the lighthouse grounds, and thus the grounds were incorporated into the Ridges Sanctuary in 1937. In November 1969, both range lights were decommissioned when a Coast Guard crew removed the illuminating equipment and constructed a metal tower with a single directional light to the south of the front range light.
This is a picture of Bailey's Harbor Front Range Light. Tomorrow I will show you the Rear Range Light.
Friday, November 11, 2011
This is Door's County's Historic Eagle Bluff Lighthouse - As the Civil War’s firestorm was extinguished, and the North and South stood once more united, pioneers discovered the riches of northeastern Wisconsin. But the trek westward from the cultured east coast was challenging, an arduous journey of hundreds of miles through the frontier. Traveling through the St. Lawrence Seaway, down the Erie Canal, and through the Great Lakes, the schooners and steamboats that carried the new immigrants and settlers were constantly in harm’s way. The journey was long and difficult…the waters dangerous. If not for the lighthouses hugging the shoreline, clinging to rocky bluffs, or speckling solitary islands, many a ship would never have seen dry land.Perched on a bluff 76 feet above Green Bay’s glistening waters, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse’s lamp brought solace to many a sailor suffering through a storm’s gale or the dark of night.
Built of Milwaukee cream city brick, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse was constructed for $12,000. Materials arrived by water from Milwaukee and Detroit, and were deposited at Lighthouse Bay, later renamed Tennyson Bay. The tower was equipped with a Fresnel lenses; the original lenses was a third-and-a-half order and the second lenses (currently on view) is a fifth order. The bluff served the lighthouse well and provided protection from high waves. The lamp is approximately 76 feet above the waterline and its beam was visible for up to 16 miles.
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse was maintained by three lighthouse keepers during a period of 58 years. The first keeper, Henry Stanley, served from 1868 – 1883, when he was transferred to the new Sherwood Point Lighthouse in southern Door. The second keeper lived and worked at Eagle Bluff for 35 years. William Duclon and his wife Julia raised seven sons in the lighthouse, some of whom served as lifesavers. The couple retired to a cottage in Fish Creek in 1918, Peter Coughlin was appointed the final keeper. With the automation of the light in 1926, the keepers’ residential tenure at Eagle Bluff ended.
The source of the light was a wicked oil lamp which was initially fueled by lard oil. By the 1880s kerosene was the universal fuel. Automated first with acetylene gas and later batteries, further automation was accomplished with solar energy in 1985. Visitors to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse are always surprised to learn that its lamp has remained constant for the past 142 years.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Here is one last picture of the Sand Point Lighthouse and the conclusion of its story.
The U.S. Coast Guard occupied the building until 1985 when they moved to a new location. The abandoned lighthouse was then obtained by the Delta County Historical Society in 1986 with plans to restore it back to its original appearance. With the help of the original 1867 plan of the building, the Delta County Historical Society began extensive research and fundraising for this immense restoration project. The historical society first removed the aluminum siding to expose the original brickwork. The roof was lowered to its original level, the new windows were bricked-in and the ten foot lopped-off tower was rebuilt. Since the original lantern room and lens were not salvaged, the historical society had to look elsewhere for replacements. They found a lantern room on nearby Poverty Island which had been removed from the lighthouse there and was sitting on the ground next to the tower for nearly a decade. In 1989, along with the lantern room, a fourth order fresnel lens was obtained from the Menominee Pier Light, both of which were nearly exact duplicates of the originals that once sat atop Sand Point Lighthouse and the lens was replaced. To finish the restoration, the lighthouse was painted white and the interior space was restored and furnished as a turn of the century replica.After a dedication ceremony in July 1990, the newly restored Sand Point lighthouse was opened to the public. Each year the lighthouse is open from Memorial Day to October 1, giving visitors a chance to climb the tower and witness what it would have been like to be a lightkeeper around the turn of the century.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Here is another view of the Sandpoint Lighthouse. During the Coast Guard Years a total of nine lightkeepers and their families lived in the Sand Point Lighthouse from its inception in 1868 to its deactivation in 1939. It was in this year that the United States Coast Guard took over all navigational lights in the country from the National Lighthouse Service. The Coast Guard constructed an automated crib light several hundred feet offshore, which replaced the function and duties of the Sand Point Lighthouse and its lightkeeper. The automated crib light is still in use today and can be seen from the tower of the Sand Point Lighthouse.
The Sand Point Lighthouse was no longer operational, but it continued to serve as housing for Coast Guard seaman who were assigned to duty in Escanaba. Upon using the lighthouse as their residence, the Coast Guard made many changes to the structure. The lantern room was removed and the tower was lowered by ten feet. In addition, the roof was raised to create a full second floor, several windows were added and the entire building was covered in aluminum siding. With these changes, the Sand Point Lighthouse was barely recognizable.
More info tomorrow.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Time to start a new journey. Back in September I visited The Upper Peninsula Michigan and Door County Wisconsin. There are a number of lighthouses that I photographed. I will start this journey with the Sand Point Lighthouse Located in Escanaba Michigan.
Soon after it became a town in 1863, Escanaba was quickly growing as an important shipping port. The Peninsula Railroad was completed in 1864, which linked Escanaba to the iron mines of the Upper Peninsula to the north. Iron ore docks were built in the Escanaba harbor and the shipping of iron ore to steel mills along the Great Lakes became Escanaba's leading industry.
As shipping traffic increased dramatically, so did the need for some sort of light structure to guide the ships in and out of the harbor and to warn them of the treacherous sand shoals that reached out into Little Bay de Noc from Sand Point, a sandspit located just south of and adjacent to the harbor area. The United States Lighthouse Service approved construction of the Sand Point Lighthouse at a cost of $11,000. Construction began in the fall of 1867 and was completed in early spring 1868. The light first shone on the night of May 13, 1868.
The Sand Point Lighthouse is a story-and-a-half rectangular building with an attached brick tower. The tower is topped with a cast iron lantern room which houses a fourth order Fresnel lens, emitting a fixed red light with a radiating power of 11.5 miles. A unique distinction concerning the Sand Point Lighthouse is that it was constructed with its tower facing the land instead of facing the water. Whether this orientation was intentional or an engineering blunder is unknown.
John Terry was appointed the first lighthouse keeper of the new lighthouse in December 1867, but he became very ill and died in April 1868 a month before the lighthouse was ready to be manned. With the lighthouse nearly completed but with no lightkeeper ready to report to duty, John Terry's wife, Mary, was appointed lightkeeper and subsequently became one of the first female lightkeepers on the Great Lakes. Mary Terry was a well-respected citizen in the community and fulfilled her duties as lightkeeper with efficiency and dedication. She was lightkeeper from 1868 to 1886, when a mysterious fire severely damaged the lighthouse and took her life. To date, no one knows exactly what happened or why it happened. Some speculate that it was an attempted burglary and that the suspect set the lighthouse afire to cover any evidence of wrongdoing. The south entrance door showed signs of forced entry, yet none of Mary Terry's valuables were taken. With the lighthouse badly damaged, restoration took nearly two full months and a new lightkeeper, Lewis Rose, was appointed to take over.
Over the years a number of changes took place at the Sand Point Lighthouse. Perhaps the most significant was when the lighthouse was hooked up to the city's electric supply in 1913. This meant that the kerosene lamp was removed from within the lens and replaced with an incandescent light bulb.
More about this lighthouse tomorrow.