Funds were appropriated for a lighthouse at the entrance to Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie in 1819, and the limestone tower went into service in 1822. It was originally known as the Sandusky Light; the name Marblehead came into use later. The tower was raised 15 feet to its present height of 65 feet in 1898 and the light was automated in 1958. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources now owns the lighthouse tower, while the Coast Guard continues to maintain the active navigational light.
The lighthouse is now part of nine-acre Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. The Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society operates a museum in the old keeper’s house, with exhibits on the history of the lighthouse and the local area. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for spectacular views of Lake Erie and its islands.
Above left: The reconstructed lifesaving station. Above right: The keeper’s house. Courtesy of the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society.
A replica of an 1876 lifesaving station was completed on the park grounds in 2016, and a renovation of the lighthouse tower was completed last year. The annual Lakeside-Marblehead Lighthouse Festival is coming up on October 9, and Marblehead Light Station is celebrating its 200th anniversary next year. Dennis Kennedy is the president of the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society.
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Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org