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South Bass Island Light, Put in Bay

3.2
#8 of 14 in Things to do in Put in Bay
South Bass Island Light is a lighthouse on the southern end of its eponymous island in Lake Erie. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 5, 1990 and is thought to be the only lighthouse in the United States that is owned by a university - Ohio State.HistoryIncreasing tourist traffic to the island in the late 1800s prompted the Lighthouse Board to approve construction of a light in 1893. The light was to help to mark the southern passage from Sandusky to Toledo, along with several other lights in the vicinity. The site chosen was Parker Point on the southwest corner of the island, and in 1895 a two-acre plot was purchased. Construction was protracted due to the failure of the original contractors to secure proper bonds, and the light was not brought into service until 1897. It is an atypical structure for its era, a large -story brick Queen Anne house with a 3-story tower built into one corner. It was fitted with a fourth order Fresnel lens, originally lit by oil, but eventually converted to electricity.The tenure of the first keeper, Harry Riley, and his assistant, Sam Anderson, was brief. Concerns about a smallpox outbreak on the island were realized in August 1898, though as it happened the cases were mild and there were no deaths. Nevertheless, a newspaper report on September 1 told of Anderson, who had been hired just the previous month, drinking heavily out of fear of the disease and hiding himself in the lighthouse's basement, where he kept a number of snakes. He then emerged and threw himself into the lake, shouting, "God save them all." His body was recovered the following day. On the same day that this report appeared, Riley was picked up by the police in Sandusky, apparently insane. He was committed to the state mental hospital and died there the following March. Tragedy struck again in 1925, when the keeper, Charles B. Duggan, was killed in a fall from a cliff on the west side of the island.
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South Bass Island Light Reviews
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TripAdvisor
  • September 18, 2017
    This is not your typical light house. There really isn't much to see, but he views of the lake are very nice. We walked around the grounds and peeked in a few windows. No tours or anything.  more »
  • September 13, 2017
    The lighthouse is only open certain days and certain times. We missed those, although walk around the outside. No the typical lighthouse and would be interested to have gone inside. No much to see fro...  more »
  • September 4, 2017
    We were there Labor Day weekend 2017. The grounds were only open and tours were not available. The times for tours were very specific. It's down the road from the Miller Ferry.  more »
Google
  • July 7, 2017
    It's a nice lighthouse on a great island with beautiful views. If you're lucky you can get to go in the lighthouse and see how a lighthouse keeper lives. Very nice overall. I'd say it's a must see while visiting the island. I visit every time I'm over from the mainland.
  • June 26, 2017
    Nice little spot at the edge of the island. The light house isn't that impressive but the views are. Great spot to enjoy the sunset.
  • June 9, 2017
    Beautiful setting and views!
  • June 15, 2017
    Cool place with great views!

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