Digest>Archives> May 2009

Cleveland’s Lighthouse History Brought to Light

By Timothy Harrison


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Although Cleveland, Ohio is one of America’s larger cities, most people would never be aware of its amazing lighthouse history that seems to have been literally swept under the carpet and lost forever.

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One of the most rare lighthouse images in the ...

Even when I asked a number of lighthouse aficionados what they could tell me about Cleveland, none of them even mentioned lighthouses. Instead, the conversation seemed to immediately turn toward sports and the Cleveland Indian’s baseball team or the Cleveland Browns, football team. A few mentioned the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which they had visited. Most of them of them had never viewed or even photographed the lighthouses in Cleveland.

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In 1938, one of the most ornate Victorian ...

Richard Clayton did a great story for us a number of years ago, (Two Times a Champion, March 2001 edition) and it has been one of few stories of about a Cleveland lighthouse or lighthouse keeper. Over the years, from time to time, I’d do a little research on Cleveland’s lighthouses, but never found enough to do a really good human interest story, nor have I ever had the time to do some indepth research in Cleveland. I had always hoped someone else would. When I heard about the new book, Cleveland's Lighthouses, I couldn't wait to get my copy.

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In 1903 the Cleveland West Breakwater Lighthouse ...

What the book lacks in text, it makes up for with many historic photographs, which is the primary focus of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series of books. And, this book is packed with historic images that were located in the dusty files of a number of sources, something that any researcher will tell you is time consuming, with many leads ending up at a dead end.

The author, Janice Patterson, a native of Kansas, who fell in love with lighthouses while living in New England, is a former journalist who spent much of her adult life working in education administration. However, for anyone visiting her home, you’d soon discover that her hobby is lighthouses. As well as lighthouse décor, Patterson even built her own miniature lighthouse-dollhouse.

Patterson said this book is the result of a personal preservation effort in finding a way to use historic photographs with captions to honor the rich history of the numerous historic lighthouses that once served so distinctly on Lake Erie at the city of Cleveland. She hopes the book will inspire a deeper appreciation for Cleveland’s maritime history. It sure did for us and we would encourage our readers to add this book to their home library. It’s well worth it.

Arcadia Publishing has a history of over 5,000 published titles. The company is best known for its “Images of America” series, which has chronicled the history of communities from coast to coast including many books about regional lighthouses, life-saving and maritime history.

Cleveland's Lighthouse is available from Lighthouse Depot as item #99833 on their web site at www.LighthouseDepot.com or by calling them at 1-800-758-1444.

This story appeared in the May 2009 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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