Light Hearted

Light Hearted ep 40 – Don Terras, Grosse Point Light Station, IL

Don Terras, seen through the Fresnel lens in the Grosse Point Lighthouse.
Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

Grosse Point Lighthouse, located at the southern end of Lake Michigan in Evanston, Illinois, was established in 1873 as the primary lighthouse marking the approach to Chicago. The lighthouse tower stands 113 feet tall and is constructed of Cream City brick encased in concrete. Still in use in the lantern is the original second-order Fresnel lens, manufactured by the Henry-Lepaute Company of Paris. In 1935, after the station was automated and destaffed, the federal government turned over the property, except for the lighthouse tower and light, to the City of Evanston.

Grosse Point Lighthouse and keeper’s house. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

Donald J. Terras is the director of the Lighthouse Park District in Evanston, and he manages the Grosse Point Light Station Museum. He is also the author of the books Grosse Point Lighthouse: Landmark to Maritime History and Culture and Lighthouses of Chicago Harbor: Their History, Architecture and Lore. Mr. Terras served on the steering committee to establish a National Lighthouse Museum and is a past president of the American Lighthouse Council. He is also a recipient of the American Lighthouse Council’s F. Ross Holland Distinguished Service Award.

In this interview, Don Terras looks back on nearly four decades of work at Grosse Point Light Station and in the broader world of lighthouse preservation.

A U.S. Lighthouse Society meeting in the keeper’s quarters at Grosse Point Light Station on November 8, 2019. Left to right: Jeff Gales, Tom Tag, Don Terras, Chad Kaiser, and Gary Riemenschneider. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

4 thoughts on “Light Hearted ep 40 – Don Terras, Grosse Point Light Station, IL

  1. Thanks for doing such a fine job with this podcast interview and the others, Jeremy. I know that we all had a good time sitting around the conference table talking lighthouses, maritime history and preservation — it should happen more often. I’m looking forward to further contributions in the field and helping others when time permits.

    Best regards,

    Don Terras

    1. It was a real pleasure, Don. Thanks so much for everything and Happy New Year! Your contributions have been many and will continue to be so, I am sure.

  2. Thanks for sharing this great podcast interview of my old friend and colleague, Don Terras. He is a knowledgeable and fantastic steward of Grosse Point Lighthouse and contributor to the national lighthouse preservation scene. It was also good to hear Jeff Gales, Chad Kaiser, and Tom Tag chiming in. A lot of knowledge and experience in that room.

    1. You’re welcome and thanks for your comment, Lee! Thank you for your years as a modern-day keeper at Split Rock. You and Don Terras are national treasures, and I look forward to talking to you soon for the podcast. Yes, there was a lot of lighthouse knowledge in the room that day in November at Grosse Point — like a lighthouse dream team.

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