Thursday, October 19, 2017

CHEBOYGAN CRIB LIGHTHOUSE

Location: CHEBOYGAN HARBOR ON LAKE HURON, CHEBOYGAN, MICHIGAN
Station Established: 1857
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1901
Operational? NO
Automated? 1920
Deactivated: UNKNOWN
Foundation Materials: OAK RING
Construction Materials: CAST IRON
Tower Shape: OCTAGONAL 
Markings/Pattern: WHITE WITH RED LANTERN
Relationship to Other Structure: ATTACHED
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER FRESNEL

Historical Information:

  • A water crib is an offshore structure that collects water from the bottom of a lake and sends it to an onshore pumping station for filtration. Chicago, Illinois, Cleveland, Ohio and Buffalo, New York are cities that use cribs to supply the cities’ water.
  • The foundation for the Cheboygan Crib Light was wooden and assembled on land. It was towed to its location roughly 2,000 feet from shore and sunk. A large deck was built on top of the foundation which the tower would rest on.
  • The tower for the light was cast iron with an octagonal lantern room. It was painted brown and a fourth order Fresnel lens was installed.
  • No keeper’s quarters were built on the site. Maintaining the site was treacherous. In 1897 a small dwelling was added. A new fourth order lens was installed the following year.
  • Since the entire site was unprotected from the elements by 1899 the decking needed to be replaced. Rip rap was also brought in to attempt to stave off the effects of the lake.
  • In 1901 the station was painted white to increase it’s visibility as a daymarker. Two years later, the wooden superstructure was removed and replaced with sturdier concrete. Iron railings were also installed to aid with safety. That railing would have to be replaced after a schooner ran into the station. In 1906 a fog bell was installed to insure such collisions were a thing of the past.
  • The light was automated in the 1920’s. The last keeper left the site in 1929 and the site went into a state of deterioration.
  • The light earned the nickname “The Dummy” from the locals. When locals learned of the Coast Guard’s plans to demolish the site, an agreement was made to donate the light to the city of Cheboygan. The light was moved to the West Breakwall in the Gordon Turner Park. Restoration work has been done on the tower. The grounds are open to the public.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.