Lighthouse News of the Week

GSA auctions of three Great Lakes lighthouses underway

Superior Entry Lighthouse, Wisconsin. USLHS archives.

Online public auctions of three Great Lakes lighthouses have begun under the guidelines of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. The lighthouses are Lake Huron’s Poe Reef Lighthouse, six miles east of Cheboygan, Michigan; Ontonagon Breakwater Lighthouse, Michigan, at the entrance of the channel leading to the Ontonagon River from Lake Superior; and Superior Entry Lighthouse, Wisconsin, between Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota. The lights remains active aids to navigation; the lighting equipment itself will continue to be maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.

As of July 18, Poe Reef has a high bid of $50,000, Superior Entry has a high bid of $10,000, and Ontonagon Breakwater has a high bid of $5000.

Read more here.

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Saginaw River Marine Historical Society offers rare tours of Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse (MI)

The first Saginaw River lighthouse went into service in 1841, during the period when large quantities of lumber were being harvested and shipped from the heart of Michigan to the East Coast of the United States via the Erie Canal and Hudson River. In 1867, the Saginaw River was dredged to enable the passage of larger ships, and in 1876 a pair of range lights were built to provide improved navigation. The rear range lighthouse was located south of the river mouth.

Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse, USLHS photo by Chad Kaiser.

The historic lighthouse will be open for a rare public viewing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Friday and Saturday in conjunction with a Tall Ship Celebration, which runs Thursday through Sunday in Bay City. A traveling fleet of more than 10 ships will enter the Saginaw River near Bay City for the event on Thursday, marking the beginning of the weekend’s festivities.

Click here for more on this story.

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Lighthouse keeper gets “honorary” street sign in South Haven, Michigan

After being wounded twice in the Civil War, Vermont native James S. Donahue had one of his legs amputated at the thigh. In spite of that, he went on to serve 35 years as the celebrated keeper of the South Haven South Pier Lighthouse in South Haven, Michigan. He was credited with rescuing at least 17 people from drowning during his long career. He earned a silver lifesaving medal from the government, but local residents fashioned him a gold medal.

South Haven South Pier Lighthouse, USLHS photo by Michael McKinney

Water Street in South Haven now has a new sign giving it the honorary name of Donahue Street. The idea came from local folk singer Pam Chappell, who wrote a song about Donahue.

You can read more about this story here.

And you can read more about James Donahue here.

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Florida specialty license plate features Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont

Beginning August 1, Floridians will able to get a specialty license plate called “Visit Our Lights” that features an image of the popular attraction. Built in 1860, the lighthouse — which has views of the Loxahatchee River, Atlantic Ocean and Jupiter — towers 108 feet high and has 105 steps to climb.

The Jupiter lighthouse joins more than 100 specialty plates in the state. In 2008, a plate featuring a Florida lighthouse was introduced to the program.

Click here for more on this story.

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member.

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