Marblehead Lighthouse Bicentennial

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LIGHTING THE WAY FOR

200

YEARS Marblehead Lighthouse 1822–2022

Inside:

The history of Marblehead Lighthouse Celebrate bicentennial events Explore the area and beyond

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L I G H T I N G T H E WAY F O R

200 YEARS Marblehead Lighthouse celebrates a bicentennial and storied past that makes the landmark a gem of a destination. By Kristen Hampshire

1897

1859 1885

COVER ISTOCK / HISTORICAL PHOTOS COURTESY MARBLEHEAD LIGHTHOUSE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

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t’s the oldest Great Lakes lighthouse in continuous service, the second smallest and among the most popular Ohio State Park. It appeared on a U.S. postage stamp and Ohio license plates, and is home of the Great Lakes’ first female keeper. A beacon of light and historic landmark, the Marblehead Lighthouse is celebrating 200 years — a bicentennial that caps generations of service, evolution and memory-making. “Lighthouses are a symbol of strength, and this is a place where people find a connection,” says Susan Hartman, who was engaged to her husband there in 1986 — a tradition for countless couples. The couple serves on the board of the Marblehead Lighthouse Society, and Susan is the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society (MLHS) secretary. The Marblehead Lighthouse has a storied past. It was constructed in 1821 by an act of Congress when the Great Lakes were recognized as a growing trade avenue. “Today, when people think about Marblehead, they first think about the lighthouse,” says Dennis Kennedy, MLHS president. “To a degree, it’s

the gateway to Kelleys Island and Put-inBay, and when it was built, there was nothing here — no roads, and very little in the way of settlement at all.” In fact, most of northwestern Ohio was swampland. But Lake Erie trade exploded and Sandusky was becoming a prime shipping port. A lighthouse was in order, and Ohio was the 17th state to benefit from the Congress Lighthouse Act (its ninth official law). Originally, the lighthouse was named the Sandusky Bay Light Station and the 3 acres of land it was built on was referred to as Rocky Point for its craggy, jutting shoreline at the entrance to the Sandusky Bay from Lake Erie. Keeping the lights burning is a story in itself. Initially, the lighthouse lantern was fueled by whale oil and had to be refilled every four hours. Imagine dumping 11 gallons into an array of 13 lamps every night to fuel the burning lantern. The keeper was charged with hauling oil up wooden ladders to the top of the lighthouse. Eventually in 1858, the lens of the light was changed to a prismatic fresnel lens that made it much more visible and used less fuel.

Then, with increased shipping traffic in the 1890s featuring larger vessels requiring deeper water, the Marblehead Lighthouse’s lantern needed to project even farther into Lake Erie so crew members could see it. A brick tower was constructed inside the original stone building to raise it up 15 feet. It wasn’t until 1958 that an electric light with automation was installed, and today light is high-intensity green LEDs. By 1939, the U.S. Coast Guard took over all lighthouses amid the impending European and Pacific wars with watchmen on duty around the clock beginning in 1941. An enclosed watchroom was added to the lighthouse from 1945-1956 during the Cold War. Today, the Coast Guard is the “keeper of record” of all U.S. lighthouses. However, when many lighthouses were declared “surplus property” in the 1980s, structures were demolished. The Marblehead Lighthouse might have been relegated to a steel pole topped with a light if not for the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society, which formed in 1998 with another plan in mind. The society was instrumental in brokering a deal with the State of Ohio to

marbleheadlighthouseohio.org / Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society

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LIGHTING THE WAY FOR 200 YEARS

1950

For more information, visit marbleheadlighthouseohio.org

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LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS operated the tower throughout its history.

FEMALE KEEPERS oversaw the lighthouse.

1822

Lighthouse was first lit.

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NAUTICAL MILES of light visibility

50 FEET height of tower

241 MILES length of Lake Erie

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ISLANDS IN LAKE ERIE (15 in the U.S.)

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Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society / 2022

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COURTESY MARBLEHEAD LIGHTHOUSE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

accept ownership of the lighthouse and grounds as Ohio’s 73rd State Park. “Residents formed the society and began getting an audience with national, state

and local politicians and was instrumental,” Kennedy says. ODNR did major renovations in 2002 and again in 2019. In 2004, MLHS opened a museum in the keeper’s house and its volunteers provide most of the staffing in the park. In 2015, the society constructed a lifesaving station and donated it to the state. The building and exhibit costs were approximately $350,000. In 2021, the society constructed restrooms as a joint project with ODNR, bringing the total project cost to $425,000. With 15 keepers during its time, including two females, now it’s time to celebrate. And, with record visitation in 2021 and scores of events planned during 2022 to honor the bicentennial, Marblehead welcomes returning guests and first-timers to a Lake Erie gem. “It’s a place where people make memories,” Hartman says. “It’s beautiful — you can see the lake, Sandusky, Cedar Point, the Islands. It’s really a unique property.”

By the Numbers


Experience the Lighthouse

Tour, stay and play with a calendar of free bicentennial events throughout the summer. By Kristen Hampshire

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limb the lighthouse stairs and peer out over Lake Erie — then stay and play, pack a picnic, listen to live music and learn something new. To celebrate the Marblehead Lighthouse 200th anniversary, a calendar of special events and activities is planned for visitors on site and around the town of Marblehead. “What we are looking to do is to educate people about the lighthouse, educate

them about the community and educate them about the environment,” says Susan Hartman, secretary of the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society (MLHS). As a former local teacher she has a a mind to help others learn about how the lake’s importance and lighthouse history. The bicentennial year kicked off in November 2021 with a rededication ceremony, and most activities are planned for the busy tourist season between

Memorial and Labor days. The lighthouse property will be activated with a range of free events, performances, hands-on activities, arts and education. “We’re looking for things that grandparents and families can do together to enjoy the park and spend more time there,” Hartman says. Following are some of the many ways to experience the lighthouse property.

MARBLEHEAD LIGHTHOUSE STATE PARK

Celebrate the lighthouse’s 200th Anniversary this summer!

Discover other fun adventures by picking up a copy of the Ohio State Parks Passport, your go-to guide for all of Ohio’s 75 State Parks. Available in the gift shop or online. For more information about visiting the lighthouse and scheduled events, marbleheadlighthouseohio.org.

marbleheadlighthouseohio.org / Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society

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Music in Marblehead From big band to acoustic island music and everything in between, a diverse lineup of musical acts throughout the summer will liven the grounds. “We are excited to bring this opportunity to Marblehead, and all of the groups coming are excited to play here,” Deb Cailor says, remarking on the setting’s lake breezes and breathtaking sunsets. Singer-songwriter Dan May, who has six critically acclaimed albums, will play on July 16 at 7 p.m. Originally from Sandusky, May lives in Philadelphia and is looking forward to

showing off the region to his bandmembers, he says. “It’s fun to be a part of an event that has a historical connection,” he adds, noting that he is writing a song specifically for the Marblehead Lighthouse bicentennial and will debut the number at this concert. The Americana-folk-rock group released its first record in 2006. Prior, May was an opera singer for 12 years. “We play melodydriven music with a lot of focus on Ohio and Sandusky,” he says, relating that he maintains a strong connection with the area

and regularly returns for performances, including last year’s show at the Maritime Museum of Sandusky. John “Crash” Davenport of Island Song is a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, has a psychology degree, teaches spinning at Soul Stretch Cycle in Port Clinton and owns a recording studio called Halo, housed in a historic church in Sandusky. “I used to help underserved children, and we would teach them culinary skills, dance and music,” he relates, sharing that his music is about life experiences. And some songs are about living the island life. “Some are very serious and other are island songs,” he quips.

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Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society / 2022

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COURTESY DAN MAY / COURTESY JOHN DAVENPORT

DAN MAY July 16th

ISLAND SONG TRIO July 30th


COURTESY MOONLIGHT SERENADERS / COURTESY FIRELANDS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

EVENTS says the performances are “back to the water and music, so combining those two passions — it doesn’t get any better than that.” The Firelands Symphony Orchestra will play a patriotic pops concert on July 2 at the lighthouse. “We will honor the last few surviving Tuskegee Airmen, including Harold Brown who lives in Port Clinton, and we’ll play some favorite pieces from the different branches of the military,” says Brandon Wurgess, marketing director.

MOONLIGHT SERENADERS June 18th & August 6th

The Marblehead Lighthouse is what Davenport sees when he’s out on the lake fishing. “It’s an inspiration — it draws people,” he says of the landmark. As president of the local Rotary Club, Davenport says involvement in the milestone celebration is important, and the club will bring its famous perch wagon to the lighthouse — a food truck serving fresh Lake Erie fried perch. The Island Song Trio also features drummer Bart Kozar, who also plays keyboards and some lead guitar, and bass player Timothy Barrett, formerly of the Akron Symphony Orchestra. Barrett also plays electric cello.

Playing musical memories of early times, the Moonlight Serenaders Big Band is the longest-performing band in Northeast Ohio, forming in 1951 to keep big-band music alive, says John Smith, manager and producer. The Serenaders will play a June and August show at the lighthouse. “The first show will be a big-band standard show — we call it music from the Great American Songbook,” Smith relates. On August 6, the group will play a military show to honor Coast Guard week and its 233rd anniversary. Smith, who has been active in the Coast Guard for 26 years and is now on auxiliary,

FIRELANDS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA July 2nd

marbleheadlighthouseohio.org / Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society

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Play in the park Observe plein air painters — and bring your own canvas to capture the scenery at Marblehead Lighthouse. Monthly sessions will include a wet paint sale so visitors can purchase what the artists create on the spot. “Bring your own art supplies and join them,” Hartman encourages.

Local art teachers will direct programs for children and adults, including rock painting for the younger set and a paintand-pour for guests ages 16 and older. Watercolor for ages 10 and up will teach techniques. All events are free and open to the first 30 guests.

DIANNE ROZAK PHOTOGRAPHY ARTIST SIGNING June 17th

PLEIN AIR PAINTING June 6th, July 11th & August 1st

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Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society / 2022

ISTOCK / COURTESY DIANNE ROZAK PHOTOGRAPHY & ART

Local photographer Dianne Rozak will discuss her work — naturalist photography she also sells at the Marblehead Lighthouse gift shop. Volunteers from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will offer some programs — including how the Marblehead limestone quarry formed —


EVENTS as will The Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island, north of Put-in-Bay. Stone Lab offers college courses and workshops on the six-mile island, and will bring education to the lighthouse, as well. The MLHS held a fundraising event on behalf of Stone Lab. The Marblehead Lighthouse website provides a calendar listing of events that will be updated as new activities are booked. But always, there are tours from 12 to 4 p.m. daily, you can explore the lifesaving station and gift shop — and make your mark with a commemorative brick that helps support the state park and historical society. Already, there are 1,786 engraved bricks that form pathways from the lighthouse to the compass rose and from the restrooms to the road. Two more paths are planned, Hartman says. The lighthouse offers an app to help visitors find their inscribed bricks. “A lot of people use them as memorials, or gifts for others,” Hartman says, relating that the bricks are one more way to truly make a memory at the Marblehead Lighthouse.

MARBLEHEAD LIGHTHOUSE SCHEDULE OF MAJOR EVENTS 2022 JUNE 6 Plein Air Painting JUNE 11 Ohio State University Alumni Band Afternoon Concert at the Lighthouse, 1:30 p.m. JUNE 17 Dianne Rozak Photography Artist Signing JUNE 18 Moonlight Serenaders Big Band Concert, 6 p.m. JUNE 22 Official 200th Anniversary Birthday Cake and Ice Cream JUNE 28 Scavenger Hunt at the Lighthouse

JULY 2 Firelands Symphony Orchestra Evening Concert at the Lighthouse, 7:30 p.m.

AUGUST 1 Plein Air Painting AUGUST 4 Coast Guard Birthday Celebration with Cake and Ice Cream

JULY 11 Plein Air Painting

AUGUST 6 Moonlight Serenaders Military Tribute Concert at the Lighthouse, 6 p.m.

JULY 16 Dan May Evening Concert at the Lighthouse, 7 p.m. JULY 23 Light Keepers’ Bingo at Merchants in Downtown Marblehead JULY 30 Island Song Evening Concert at the Lighthouse, 6 p.m.

AUGUST 7 National Lighthouse Day AUGUST 17 Geocaching AUGUST 28 Fostoria Lake Plains Chorus at the Lighthouse, 6 p.m. SEPTEMBER 3 Star Party

For more information on events visit our website at: www.marbleheadlighthouseohio.org Follow Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society on Facebook

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marbleheadlighthouseohio.org / Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society

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WHAT TO DO

Exploring

Marblehead and Beyond

The area is called Vacationland for a reason. From island escapes to winery tours and beach camping, check out the many ways to enjoy Marblehead and the Catawba/Islands region. By Kristen Hampshire

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eer into the windows of downtown Marblehead’s eclectic shops, restaurants, galleries and gathering places. Meander through displays, and you’ll notice life-sized silhouettes that represent the Marblehead Lighthouse’s 15 keepers. Every silhouette — every keeper — has a story. And the shops sponsoring the figures offer a historical walk down memory lane for visitors. Each one shares information about the keeper’s life, and a QR code allows guests to scan the silhouettes and fill out bingo cards, with winners earning prizes from the merchants. This is just one of the ways Marblehead Lighthouse is connecting its 200th anniversary celebration to nearby communities and attractions to extend their experience at the historical site to the rest of Marblehead.

John “Crash” Davenport, whose band Island Song will play at the lighthouse this summer, was born and raised in the area and lives on Catawba Island. “We call this Key West North,” he says of the region. Indeed, there is a feeling of entering a waterfront getaway and island paradise when you drive across the Edison Memorial Bridge from Route 2 across the Sandusky Bay. “There’s lots to do and see,” Davenport says. “If you come up for the weekend, you can visit Lakeside or take one of the several ferries to Put-in-Bay or Kelleys Island to do some sightseeing, like visiting the third tallest monument in the country — Perry’s Monument. If you like fishing, swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding — we have so much water here. And what draws people here mostly

is the entertainment. There are so many venues with bands playing literally every day. And then there’s the restaurants.” There’s a reason why they call this region of Ohio Vacationland. Here are ways to do Marblehead and beyond.

CREDIT

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Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society / 2022


1822 - 2022 Come and tour the private residence of the first three Keepers of the Marblehead Lighthouse. Help us celebrate the BiCentennial of this fully restored - in and out - gem of pioneer/frontier architecture. 9999 Bayshore Road, 2.5 milkes south and west of the Lighthouse. Visit our website for hours of operation and events at www.ottawacountyhistory.org

CREDIT

COURTESY MARBLEHEAD LIGHTHOUSE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

SUPPORT HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY OHIO HUMANITIES, THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES, AND THE FEDERAL AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT OF 2021.

marbleheadlighthouseohio.org / Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society

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STONE LABORATORY

STONE LABORATORY

THE RED FERN INN AT ROCKY POINT WINERY

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Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society / 2022

EAST HARBOR STATE PARK

Go fishing, camp and stay over, hike or pack a picnic, bird watch or play on the disc golf course. You can also access a boat launch at East Harbor State Park, where you’ll find 10 miles of sandy beachfront. The park sits on the edge of prairie marshland, so wildlife lovers can view a range of waterfowl and shore birds.

DINING AROUND

The Red Fern Inn at Rocky Point Winery offers accommodations, plus complimentary bicycles and fire pits in a private outdoor lounge area. Take time for a homecooked breakfast at Latitude Café and stop in for a pie with all the toppings at Sloopy’s Pizza. Just past East Harbor State Park is Crow’s Nest, complete with a Tiki bar and outdoor dining, American fare and water views. South Beach Hotel, Resort, Cottages and Marina offers the whole assortment of accommodations with a bar-grille and Sandusky Bay access. For a sports bar experience, Cleat’s Marblehead delivers, or tuck into one of the local watering holes like Jamestown

COURTESY MARBLEHEAD LIGHTHOUSE HISTORICAL SOCIETY / THE OHIO GRAPE INDUSTRIES COMMITTEE

Located on Gibraltar Island, just north of Put-in-Bay, OSU’s Stone Laboratory is an Ohio Sea Grant’s education and outreach facility, and it works to solve environmental and economic issues. Aside from offering college classes, workshops and field trips, Stone Laboratory focuses on research and outreach. Stone Lab will be offering some programs at Marblehead Lighthouse this summer. Or you can preregister to attend a summer tour.


COURTESY MARBLEHEAD LIGHTHOUSE HISTORICAL SOCIETY / OTTAWA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

WHAT TO DO

PINK PERCH

Tavern, Wee Willy’s Sports Pub or restaurants on the Marblehead Strip, including Pink Perch.

LAKESIDE CHAUTAUQUA

Remember the good, ‘ole pizza parlor and ice cream shop — where you can stand up against a “how tall are you this year?” wall and remember how life grows? Lakeside is a unique pocket of tradition as a historic village-within-a-village that is a Chautauqua community, meaning it offers cultural, intellectual, spiritual and physical learning opportunities. The restored rows of Victorian vacation homes, bicycles-builtfor-two, golf carts carrying generational passengers, and stunning waterfront with a pier and all the activities that go with it are

just the beginning. Spend a day, weekend, or longer. Camp, try an Air B&B, or book a room at Hotel Lakeside, Fountain Inn or Inn & Suites. Spend a day walking the community, kayaking, playing miniature golf, dunking in the pool, shopping unique boutiques and settle in front-porch style. That’s what Lakeside is all about.

GO SHOPPING

Ferguson Gallery in downtown Marblehead is where Cary Ferguson’s lake oil painting works are displayed for sale, along with handcrafted glass treasures and ornaments. His Lake Erie Artwork captures scenes and experiences from the islands and mainland. In business locally for more than 40 years, Ferguson started his first gallery in Cleveland in 1979. His strong following draws many guests. At Marblehead Soap you’ll find handcrafted organic soaps and products, craftwork from Ohio, local honey, antiques, essential oils, candles, canned goods and aromatherapy. Inside the Marblehead Galley Restaurant is a creative outpost for nautical gifts called Beach Bums. And if you need a break from

the busy, check in at Spa Catawba, which offers a full menu of services including facials and massage therapy. The new 6,000-square-foot facility includes a wellness center, wellness therapy rooms and a café.

WOLCOTT HOUSE

You can tour the private residence of the first three keepers of the Marblehead Lighthouse. The Wolcott House has been fully restored inside and out. It is located at 9999 Bayshore Road, which is two and a half miles south of the lighthouse. Go to ottawacountyhistory.org for hours and special event information.

WOLCOTT HOUSE

marbleheadlighthouseohio.org / Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society

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WHAT TO DO

VISITING MARBLEHEAD LIGHTHOUSE Unique, fun nautical gift shop located inside The Marblehead Galley Restaurant in beautiful Marblehead, Ohio.

From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the onsite Keeper’s House, Lifesaving Station and Lighthouse are open seven days a week from Noon to 4 p.m. The last tower tour begins at 3:40 p.m. Tours are $3 (cash only) for adults and children ages six and up. Children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. *High wind, heavy storms and lightning can result in cancelling lighthouse tower tours.

113 W Main St. Marblehead, OH 43440 facebook.comm/beachbumsmarblehead

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Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society / 2022

The Mylander Foundation Albert G. & Olive H. Schlink Foundation Metal Formed Goods Company Genoa Bank Balconi Monuments and Countertops, Inc.

COURTESY MARBLEHEAD LIGHTHOUSE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

• Beach Gear & Bags • Lake Signs & Décor • Camper Décor • Soaps & Lotions • Jewelry • Home Décor & More

Lighthouse buildings are closed until May, but the park is open and gift shop is accessible online.


With Bold Strokes and The Freedom of Movement, CARY FERGUSON CAPTURES THE BEAUTY OF THE LAKE

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK VISIT THE STUDIO TODAY! MON TO SAT: 10AM - 5PM SUN: 11AM - 5PM

THE NORTH COAST REDISCOVERED THE ART OF CARY S. FERGUSON

OPENING JUNE 11

WELCOME TO FERGUSON GALLERY,

the art gallery and studio of Cary Ferguson, a master glass artist of 40 years. As a Marblehead resident, Cary finds Lake Erie to be an inspiration as he captures the beauty of the shoreline in oil paintings and prints. Now after painting gorgeous scenery of Lake Erie for decades, it’s clear that Cary creates the finest Lake Erie artwork available anywhere. With over 43 years in business, Cary maintains an 8,000 sq. ft. studio and gallery in Marblehead. Visit our gallery today, where we offer original art, on-site glass blowing and glass engraving demonstrations.

FERGUSONGALLERY.COM 419-734-0600 − 5890 EAST HARBOR RD. MARBLEHEAD, OHIO 43440


Play & Stay Shores & Islands Ohio is more than just a place, it’s a feeling. Discover something new with each adventure. Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned regular, experiences here stay in your heart for a lifetime. Find your Lake Erie Love at SHORESandISLANDS.com.

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park