Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2004

Mystery photo solved


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The mystery photo on page 32 of November issue of Lighthouse Digest has been solved thanks to Wayne Sapulski of Maritime Photographic Company of Michigan. Wayne says it is the Ashtabula, Ohio West Pier-Head Lighthouse (of 1876), which was removed from service in 1906. We thank Wayne for helping us solve the mystery and supplying us with the following history of the lighthouse.

The first Ashtabula Light, a hexagonal wooden structure, was established in 1836 on the end of the east pier-head.

In 1876 a new lighthouse (the one pictured) was built on the west pierhead because of the construction of new dock facilities on the east side of the river, which necessitated the removal of the first light. As shown in the photo, this second light consisted of a tall, slender, square, wooden pyramidal tower. A new 4th order lens displaying a fixed red light was installed in 1896 along with a first class siren fog signal. This light served as a front range light after 1893 when a rear range light on a metal tower was established that year. The 1876 light served the harbor until the present (third) lighthouse was built in 1905 (first lit on November 1, 1905) when the Ashtabula River was widened and additional dock construction was completed. When built, the third light was located on the new break-wall approximately 2500 feet north of the river entrance and the 1876 light. (This third light was subsequently moved to its present position and enlarged in 1916 after the breakwall it rests upon was extended for the last time.) Before the completion of the third lighthouse, the river-widening project left the 1876 structure 60 feet out into the river and away from the new west pier, giving it the appearance of a “floating lighthouse.” Obviously, it had to be removed from the river channel, and it was early in 1906.

As additional proof, look at the lower right hand corner of the photo with a magnifying glass and you will see the word “John.” The name of the barge used to move the light off of its wooden crib and onto the pier for dismantling was the John Drackett of Cleveland, Ohio.

This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2004 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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