Great Lakes lighthouses have always sparked our curiosity. Known as beacons of light that provide safe passage for ships, they also attract visitors with their individual stories and maritime history.
One of these famous lighthouses is the South Bass Island Lighthouse, owned by The Ohio State University and managed by Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory. Thanks to a National Maritime Heritage Program grant administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Ohio History Connection, Put-in-Bay visitors can now learn all about the South Bass Island Lighthouse’s history through six new educational displays located around the lighthouse grounds.
“Lighthouses have been such an important piece of the Lake Erie islands’ history and we realized we could do our part to help educate visitors who come to our South Bass Island Lighthouse,” said Dr. Kristen Fussell, Associate Director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab. “This NPS grant gave us the opportunity to do that.”
Five of the educational displays provide visitors with an overview of the grounds, information about the Lake Erie passage, the lighthouse’s unique red brick architecture, the 10-sided Fresnel lens that illuminated its coastline, and the lighthouse’s 10 keepers who helped ships along their way.
The last display focuses on Green Island, which is visible from the South Bass Island Lighthouse grounds. Now a wildlife refuge for Ohio Division of Wildlife and no longer accessible to the public, the display showcases the lighthouses that used to be at Green Island before fire left only their remnants.
The South Bass Island Lighthouse grounds are open to the public for free from dawn to dusk in the summer. For information about the lighthouse and its summer guided tours, visit go.osu.edu/lighthouse.