Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Featured Lighthouse #22- Old Michigan City Light, IN

This is our final featured lighthouse, which means the 2012 Lake Michigan Circle Tour and Lighthouse maps will be available tomorrow! Make sure to order your free copy today!

Featured Lighthouse #22- Old Michigan City Light, IN

At the bend of the Michigan City harbor stands an historic old structure whose beacon served as a guiding light for Great Lakes sailors for more than 100 years. Michigan City's first light, a simple "postlight, was erected in 1835 about 100 feet west of the present structure. Two years later, a keeper's dwelling was built, with a detached 40-foot tall whitewashed tower to house a lantern at the top. By 1858 this original lighthouse was deemed inadequate, so a new building was constructed of Joliet stone and Milwaukee brick. A lantern room on the north end of the 1858 lighthouse housed a fixed light with a Fresnel lens of the Fifth Order.
In 1871, the first beacon light was installed on the east pier, and this too was maintained by the keepers. So diligently did the keepers perform their tasks, with many tales of bravery and heroism, that the Michigan City Lighthouse became known on the Great Lakes as "Old Faithful".

The "dear old stationhouse" was enlarged in 1904 when the Lens was moved to a tower atop the East Pierhead fog signal. This was a half-mile journey out to the end of the pier and a half mile back again, so a Head Keeper and Assistant Keeper rotated watch. The keepers and their families continued to live in the Old Lighthouse until 1940 when the Pierhead Light was electrified. The building stood vacant for about 25 years, until the Michigan City Historical Society began restoring it in 1964. In 1973, the Old Lighthouse Museum opened with a replica of the original lantern room.

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