Turtle Island Light

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Turtle Island Light
Lighthouse and keeper's residence c. 1880
Location Turtle Island (Lake Erie)
Coordinates {{WikidataCoord}} – missing coordinate data
Year first constructed 1831
1866 (current tower)
Automated No
Deactivated 1904
Construction Brick
Tower shape Square
Height 44 feet (13 m)
Current lens removed
Range 12 nautical miles; 23 kilometres (14 mi)
ARLHS number USA-859[1][2]

When Turtle Island fell back to federal ownership, the newly established Port of Toledo received $5,000 of federal funding from Congress to build the Turtle Island Lighthouse in 1831.[3] At the time, the island's area was approximately 6.67 acres (2.70 ha), and the island included the lighthouse, the lighthouse keeper's residence, and a small farm.[4]

Unlike most islands in Lake Erie, Turtle Island consists primarily of clay and gravel deposits and was subjected to constant erosion, which is why some believed it to not be a real island.[citation needed] By 1839, lake storms and waves reduced the island by approximately 77% down to an area of only 1.5 acres (0.61 ha). Congress spent tens of thousands of dollars to no avail to prevent the erosion of the island. In 1866, an updated lighthouse costing $12,000 was constructed. It was described as one of the finest lighthouses on the Great Lakes, and its light could be seen up to 14 miles (23 km) away.[3] However, the erosion of the island continued to threaten the lighthouse to the point where a 4-foot (1.2 m) tall concrete wall was constructed in 1883 around the lighthouse to prevent crashing waves and erosion from damaging the structure.[4] Constant lake storms bombarded the tiny island. When the nearby Toledo Harbor Light was completed in 1904, the Turtle Island Lighthouse was no longer needed and was decommissioned after having cost the United States an untold amount of money to continuously maintain over the past 72 years. During those 72 years, there were no shipwrecks within the vicinity of Turtle Island.[4]

There were two keepers of the lighthouse: Ann Edson (1869–1870) and William Haynes (1875–1904).[5]


  1. ^ Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (2010). "Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society, Turtle Island (Lake Erie) Light, ARLHS USA-859". Retrieved March 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (2010). "Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society, World List of Lights (WLOL)". Retrieved March 20, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Anderson, Kraig (2010). "Turtle Island, Ohio". Retrieved March 20, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Archinger, Warren (2004). "Ohio Lighthouses - Turtle Island Light, Maumee Bay - Lake Erie". Retrieved March 20, 2010. 
  5. ^ Lighthouse Depot (2010). "Turtle Island Light". Archived from the original on January 3, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gardner, B. Ellen. Turtle Island Lighthouse: The Darkened Light. Cornwall, New York: Hawk's Cry Publications, 1997. ISBN 0-9649679-2-8
  • Oleszewski, Wes. Great Lakes Lighthouses, American and Canadian: A Comprehensive Directory/Guide to Great Lakes Lighthouses. Gwinn, Michigan: Avery Color Studios, Inc., 1998. ISBN 0-932212-98-0.
  • Turtle Island Light Station, The Keepers' Log, Notice to Keepers Volume 10, Issue 4, Page 40.
  • U.S. Coast Guard. Historically Famous Lighthouses. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1957.
  • Wright, Larry and Wright, Patricia. Great Lakes Lighthouses Encyclopedia. Erin, Ontario: Boston Mills Press, 2006. ISBN 1-55046-399-3

External links[edit]