Our 2012 Travels travel blog

Mentor Beach State Park

Lake Erie


Sign at the Museum


Light Keeper's Home - Now Museum

Grand River Light House

Back of Museum


Compass in the Grass



Grand River Light House From Farther Down The Road

The Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light House

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

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Windy at Mentor Beach Park On Lake Erie

After visiting Chagrin Falls, we set off in search of a couple of Light Houses. Our first stop though was Mentor Beach Park where we took a look at Lake Erie and watched the waves rolling in. The lake is not what you would call calm today!

Then we headed Northeast to see the Grand River Lighthouse and the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse.

By the time we reached Fairport Harbor, the Marine Museum was closed but we had come to see the lighthouse anyway so we weren't that disappointed!

The Grand River Lighthouse is situated at the mouth of the Grand Riverand is known as “The light that shone for a hundred years.” The first lighthouse on this spot was compoeted in 1825. Unfortunately, after only 10 years in service, the foundation had settled so badly that the lighthouse had to be replaced. By the summer of 1871, this gray Berea sandstone tower and attached brick keeper’s dwelling were completed. Then in August, 1871, a third-order Fresnel lens was added for the first time. The light stood 102 feet above the lake level, the same as the original tower, and was visible for eighteen miles.

This Lighthouse is beloved by the residents of Fairport Harbor Village but even more for the part it played in the history of the area. The town became a hub of commerce but it also became the final stop on the Underground Railroad. The residents of Fairport were firmly anti-slavery and they actively helped escaping slaves. In 1850, tavern owner Samuel Butler became chairman of a citizens’ group that sought to repeal the Fugitive Slave Law. Shortly thereafter his Eagle Tavern was a haven for escaping slaves and the headquarters for those willing to help. Practically the entire town colluded to hide runaway slaves and smuggle then aboard ships bound for Canada. Many were hidden in this lighthouse.

After we took pictures at the Grand River Lighthouse, we drove down closer to Lake Erie so that we cold get a picture of the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse.

The Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse was put into operation in June of 1925 and it replaced the Grand River Lighthouse. It was built to better serve the changing harbor which had been widened and deepened to accommodate larger freighters.

At present the Fairport Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse is automated with a 300 mm optic lens. It is still an active lighthouse and is owned and managed by the Coast Guard. It is closed to the public, however, it is possible to get a better look at it from walking on the breakwater. However since Lake Erie was not too calm today and because it was getting later, we headed on to the next lighthouse on our list.

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