Sunday, October 22, 2017

GARY HARBOR BREAKWATER LIGHTHOUSE

Location: GARY HARBOR, LAKE MICHIGAN, NEAR GARY, INDIANA
Station Established: 1837
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1911
Operational? YES
Automated? UNKNOWN
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials: UNKNOWN
Construction Materials: STEEL PLATES
Tower Shape: CONICAL, TAPERED AT THE TOP
Markings/Pattern: RED
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE
Original Lens: SIXTH ORDER FRESNEL

Historical Information:

  • In the early 1900’s representatives of the United States Steel Corporation were scouting a location on the southern shores of Lake Michigan to house a steel plant. The area selected was a barren and virtually uninhabitable. A city was built south of the plant’s location to house the workers. It became Gary, Indiana. The harbor at the plant had to be excavated in order for the large container ships to enter the slips in the harbor.
  • An “L” shaped breakwater was created in Lake Michigan to protect the harbor. It extends several thousand feet into the lake. At the end of the breakwater, Gary Harbor Breakwater Light was established.
  • It was built in 1911 out of steel plates and stands 30 feet tall. A keeper’s quarters was not built at the site.
  • A sixth order Fresnel lens was installed. It is reported the lens is still intact in the light but a modern light is currently in use.
  • The light still serves as an active aid to navigation. The light is privately owned by U. S. Steel Corporation and is not open to the public. It is best viewed by boat or air.

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