News and views, and history and humor, about the lake I love.

"I can hear my granddad's stories of the storms out on Lake Erie, where vessels and cargos and fortunes, and sailors' lives were lost." ~ James Taylor, Millworker

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Port Clinton to Acquire Old West Pier Lighthouse

The Port Clinton West Pier Head Light, as seen in an old postcard
I'm happy to announce that after spending almost fifty years tucked away in a marina along the Portage River, Port Clinton’s old pier-head light will soon become city property and once again be given a prominent place in this waterfront town’s landscape.

I was on hand Tuesday night as the PC Parks and Recreation Committee, after hearing a briefing on the proposal, recommended transfer of the old Port Clinton lighthouse from Brands' Marina to the city. It will be up to the the full City Council to approve the city but I anticipate they will do so without controversy when they meet in January.

In anticipation of the transfer, a committee of volunteers has been fleshing out plans to move the lighthouse to the Waterworks Park near the end of the proposed Adams Street extension and eventually restore the structure. The light will not operate but instead serve as a local attraction and beacon for tourism.

Standing twenty feet high, the peppermill style, pyramid-sided wood structure was erected in 1896 at the end of the west pier. Though records are sketchy, it is believed the light operated until 1927. In the mid 1950s, the lighthouse was removed from the pier and moved to Jeremy's Marina, now Brands’ Marina, on Lakeshore Drive about a half mile up The Portage River.

The lighthouse committee is hopeful that, once moved to such a highly visible location, the lighthouse will draw tourists to the downtown district and serve as a wonderful asset to the city overall.

The relocation and restoration of the lighthouse will be funded through a combination of private and corporate sponsors, and federal and state grants. Volunteers will be called upon to complete much of the work. The lighthouse committee envisions the formation of a non-profit preservation society to spearhead the effort.

Members of the committee include Committee Chair Peggy Debien, outgoing Mayor Hymore-Tester, CDR Gerald Nauert and LT Andy Frye with the U.S. Coast Guard, Darrell Brand, Bill Moon, Debbie Rossman, Doug Garrett, Kathy Jo Schweitzer, John Smothers, Bob Reynolds, Kim Boyle, Bob Butcher, Kathy Mehl, Chuck Grindstaff and Sam Halstead, and yours truly.

Once the lighthouse is transferred to the city and an assessment of the structure’s stability completed, the move itself could take place as early as next spring. Once moved, a more thorough restoration will commence.

This will be a huge and much-needed tourist for the city. The nearby Marblehead Lighthouse receives more than one million visitors annually. I will reporting regularly on this effort but please help spread the word. I would like to see a big community effort to fund this exciting and worthwhile project.

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