Digest>Archives> July 2002

Students Pitch in to Restore Newly Leased Lighthouse

By Jeremy D'Entremont


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An early image of the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse ...

After three years of negotiations, this past spring the Marquette (Michigan) Maritime Museum concluded an agreement with the United States Coast Guard for a 30-year lease of the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse. According to officials of the museum, this enables them “to preserve and protect the most historically important building in Marquette.” Museum board president and maritime historian Fred Stonehouse added, “Acquiring the lighthouse is a tremendous achievement. It is a win-win for everyone. The Coast Guard no longer has to maintain property they don’t need and the people of Marquette, through the Museum, gain control of this most important part of our history.” The Coast Guard will continue to maintain the light itself as an active aid to navigation.

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Students from Marquette Senior High School at ...

For many years Marquette was the leading Great Lakes shipping port for iron ore, and this light guided countless vessels safely into port. The first Marquette Harbor Lighthouse was built in 1853, and the present structure dates to 1866. A second story was added in 1906.

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Marquette Harbor Lighthouse as it looks today. ...

The Marquette Maritime Museum has been restoring the first floor of the lighthouse, and much of the restoration has been done by about a dozen students from Marquette Senior High School as part of a course in building construction taught by Bill Shaw. They have painted the walls and stripped the hardwood floors along with other maintenance. “The work that they are doing is outstanding,” said Fred Stonehouse. 18-year-old senior Kevin Pleaugh told The Mining Journal, “It’s pretty fun. And you get good experience too.”

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The plan is to restore the second floor of the lighthouse to the era of Lighthouse Service keepers, circa 1900. This will be done by high school students in the fall.

The Marquette Maritime Museum offers tours of the lighthouse from spring to fall. Visitors must walk through the Coast Guard station grounds to reach the lighthouse, so museum guides escort all tours. The Marquette Maritime Museum has an important collection of lighthouse lenses, including a second order Fresnel lens from Stannard Rock Light. A 1980s-era aerobeacon from Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is also on display. And the museum has obtained a complete set of the keepers’ daily logbooks on CD-ROM. A copy of this CD is on sale in the museum’s shop.

If you would like more information, contact the Marquette Maritime Museum, 300 Lakeshore Boulevard, Marquette, Michigan 49855. Or visit them on the web at: www.mqtmaritimemuseum.com.

This story appeared in the July 2002 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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