Erieland Quick Facts
Year Station Established: 1818
Is the Light operational? No
Year Light First Lit: 1867
Year Deactivated: 1899
Tower Height: 49 ft.
Original Optic: 3rd Order, Fresnel
Existing Keepers Quarters? Yes
Year Constructed: 1867
Number of Stories: 2
Architectural Style: Saltbox
Construction Materials: Wood
(Old Presque Isle Light)
(6 photos, 112KB total download)
Last Visited: August, 2002
The Erie Land Light was originally constructed in 1818 and was the first lighthouse built by the United States Government on the Great Lakes. The lighthouse was a 20-foot (6.1 m) tall square tower and had started to sink into the ground in 1851. The tower had to be replaced in 1858. The lenses were manufactured by L. Sauter & Son in Paris, France and cost $7,000.
The second tower was a 58-foot (18 m) tall, conical tower made from Milwaukee brick. The second tower's foundation also proved defective and had to be replaced again in 1866. An investigation found that a thin layer of quicksand was below the foundation of the tower.
The third tower was built from Berea sandstone. To prevent the tower from sinking like its predecessors, 20-foot (6.1 m) long oak timbers were sunk into ground with 6 feet (1.8 m) of crushed limestone and Portland cement poured over the timbers. A two-story, saltbox lightkeeper's house was also built at the same time.
The lighthouse was deactivated in 1880 when it was deemed unnecessary because of the recently constructed Presque Isle Light on Presque Isle. It was sold for $1,200. The government re-purchased and reactivated the light in 1885 after much public outcry. It was operated until December 26, 1899 when it was deactivated again. The lenses were removed in 1902 and were sent to the Marblehead Light in Ohio. A roof made from tar paper was placed over tower after the lantern room was removed. The city of Erie bought the lighthouse in 1934.
A wooden replica of the lantern room was placed on the tower in 1990 and was relit on December 26, 1999. The replica lantern room was eventually blown off of the tower on May 5, 2003 during a windstorm.
A 6,300-pound (2,900 kg) copper replica of the original lantern room was hoisted on to the lighthouse on March 19, 2004. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission provided $400,000 in grants for restoration work including the lantern room, stairs and brickwork. The restoration was completed on June 19, 2004.
The lighthouse is not open to the public, however there is a playground and picnic area adjacent to the lighthouse.
- From I-90, take I-79 north.
- Stay on I-79 north for 5.9 miles to it's end.
- At that point it becomes the Bayfront Parkway. Take Bayfront Parkway.
- Travel on Bayfront Parkway for 3.9 miles then continue on E.Bay Drive
- Take E. Bay Dr. 0.3 miles then turn right onto East Ave.
- In 0.2 miles turn left onto E. 3rd St.
- In 0.3 miles turn left onto Lighthouse St.
- Follow Lighthouse St. to the end where you will see the lighthouse on your left.
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