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South Bass Island Light, Put in Bay

(80 reviews on the web)
Lighthouse
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • As you can see this so-called light-house was a big disappointment for us. It is just a house with just the very top of a light-house. Also, closed after October 1st till summer. None of the attractio...  more »
  • My husband absolutely HAD to see this place last time we were in town. We walked around it, and the highlight of the place was really the incredible view of the lake. Nice place to sit and watch the s...  more »
  • This light house was closed to the public when we visited, however the grounds were still open and still beautiful, a great place to take a time out from the loud that can be Put-In-Bay  more »