Toledo Harbor

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he Toledo Harbor Lighthouse is a lighthouse in Lake Erie near Toledo, Ohio, in the United States. It is an active aid to navigation.

The lighthouse is built on a 20 foot (6 m) deep stone crib 8.4 miles (14 km) from the mouth of the Maumee River, marking the entrance to the Toledo harbor. It is also approximately 7 miles (11 km) north ofMaumee Bay State Park. After the channel was widened and deepened in 1897, shipping traffic increased. Construction began in 1901 when the United States Army Corps of Engineers built the crib to serve as the base for a lighthouse situated miles from shore. The light replaced the 1837 lighthouse on Turtle Island at the mouth of the Maumee River. Crib construction was perfected on the Great Lakes on such earlier lights as White Shoal LightStannard Rock Light, and Rock of Ages Light, which was developed by Engineer Col. Orlando M. Poe.

The tip of the lantern vent is 85 feet (26 m) high above the lake, has a 3 story dwelling and is brick with a steel frame. Described as Romanesque, its style is unique among Great Lakes lighthouses. The original cost was $152,000, so that it comes close to rivaling Spectacle Reef Light, the most expensive lighthouse on the Great Lakes. The Toledo light was first illuminated on May 23, 1904 by a 3½-orderFresnel lens that featured a 180-degree bullseye, two smaller 60-degree bullseyes and a ruby red half cylinder glass made in Paris by Barbier and Bernard.

It is situate eight miles northeast of Toledo Harbor. It is a "distinctive lighthouse that some believe resembles a gingerbread house. While there is no witch living inside as there was in the tale of Hansel and Gretel, there is an eerie "phantom keeper" who for years beckoned to mariners from an upper-story window. It stands seninel to Maumee Bay.

Construction of Toledo Harbor Lighthouse began in 1901. Since there was no outcropping of rock to use as a foundation, the Army Corps of Engineers devised a creative way to build the light in the middle of Lake Erie. They sunk a large crib, filled it with stone, and then topped the portion above with water with a concrete base to create an artificial island.

The engineers next put steel frames in place, providing stability for a three-story brick lighthouse and an attached one story fog signal building. The dwelling was signed to accommodate one lighthouse keeper and two assistants. It rises 69 feet. A cylindrical tower has a diameter of 13 feet, upward from the center of the dwelling roof. The lantern room measures eight 1/2 feet in diameter. Helical bars support the glass panes in the onion-domed topped lantern room. The lantern room originally housed an unusual 3 ½-order Fresnel lens manufactured by Barbier & Benard of Paris. The lens featured a 180-degree bull's-eye, two smaller 60-degree bull's-eyes and a ruby red half cylinder of glass, and when revolved produced two white flashes followed by a single red flash. A suspended weight was used to rotate the lens, which first sent forth its penetrating beams of light on the night of May 23, 1904.

By 1966, an electric motor was installed to rotate the lens, allowing the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse to operate with little human intervention. The last Coast Guard crew could then be remove, but not before measures were taken to prevent vandalism of the now keeperless lighthouse. The ingenious security system came in the form of a fully-uniformed mannequin, stationed in one of the upper windows of the dwelling. Originally appearing as a man with a penciled moustache, the mannequin later sported a long blonde wig. Ghost stories that tell of a phantom lighthouse keeper at Toledo Harbor can usually be traced back to this figure. Even though it sits motionless, some swear that it has beckoned to them from the window. The mannequin has become part of the Coast Guard's tradition, and new officers stationed at Toledo consider it a rite of passage to sign its shirt.

Toledo Harbor Lighthouse is still an active aid to navigation, The federal government maintains ownership of the site, which is closedd to the public. In the late 1990s the original Fresnel lens was removed and eventually placed on display at the COSI museum in Toledo. In its place is a 300 mm lens, fed by solar cells. Twice a year, U. S. Coast Guardsmen visit the lighthouse to clean and service the lens, solar panel and backup batteries.

In 1965, the light was automated by the U.S. Coast Guard and powered by solar cells. To deter vandalism, a uniformed mannequin officer was placed in the window and the boat basin removed.

As part of the commemoration of the light's centenary, the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Society was formed in 2003 as a nonprofit organization to document the history of the lighthouse, preserve the lighthouse and to provide public access.[1] The Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed to work for restoration of the lighthouse. Some members even suggested turning it into a restaurant and inn. Renovation will cost approximately $2.5 million. U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) joined in the fundraising efforts, securing a $500,000 grant from the U. S. Department of Energy to help provide the project with power. The solar cells currently feeding the light will be supplemented with wind-generated energy and a geothermal heating and cooling system. Construction of a breakwall is proposed. Once completed, it would increase the radius of the island by 100 feet, providing room for a Wind turbine generator and a safe harbor for boats to dock. A well is in place to provide potable water.

The light's unique form made it the subject of artwork, including paintings.

In 2008, the Fresnel lens was relocated to Quilter Lodge in Maumee Bay State Park, which is within sight of the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse on clear days.

It is listed on the National Register of HIstoric Places, Reference #83002005 Name of Listing: TOLEDO HARBOR LIGHT (U.S. COAST GUARD/GREAT LAKES TR). It is not on the state list.

Stock # HL476
Price: $78.99
Toledo Harbor
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