Marblehead Lighthouse State Park 'Marblehead at dusk' © Dougals Hupfer
Two lights at night...The moon and Marblehead 09/10/09
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USA Parks
Northwest Ohio Region
Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
1169 North Buck Road,
Lakeside-Marblehead, Ohio   43440

Phone: 419-734-4424
Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
'Marblehead at dusk'
© Douglas S. Hupfer

Two lights at night...The moon and Marblehead 09/10/09

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
'Marblehead Lighthouse'
© All photos are the sole property of Misty Meyer

January 2011

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
'Keepers House'
© All photos are the sole property of Misty Meyer

January 2011

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
© All photos are the sole property of Kim Middleton.

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
'Xmas at Marblehead 2009'
© Douglas S. Hupfer

Merry Christmas from Marblehead Lighthouse 2009

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
© Copyright Maggi Dandar

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
'Open House at Marblehead lighthouse'
© Douglas S. Hupfer

Open House during Marblehead Open Lighthouse during the Marrblehead Fest.2009

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
© All photos are the sole property of Kim Middleton.

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park

Marblehead Lighthouse, one of Lake Erie's best known and most-photographed landmarks, is Ohio's newest state park! The grounds surrounding the lighthouse offer excellent picnicking and views of Lake Erie, Sandusky Bay, Kelleys Island and South Bass Island.
History of the Area
Marblehead Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes, has guided sailors safely along the rocky shores of Marblehead Peninsula since 1822.

In 1819, the fifteenth U. S. Congress recognized the need for navigational aides along the Great Lakes, and set aside $5,000 for construction of a light tower at the entrance to Sandusky Bay. Contractor William Kelly built the 50-foot tower of native limestone on the tip of the Marblehead Peninsula. The base of the tower is 25 feet in diameter, with walls five feet thick. It narrows to twelve feet at the top with two-foot thick walls.

Through history, fifteen lighthouse keepers, two of whom were women, have tended the beacon. The first keeper was Benajah Wolcott, a Revolutionary War veteran and one of the first settlers on the peninsula. He and his family lived in a small stone home on the Sandusky Bay side of the peninsula. Each night, he lit the wicks of the thirteen whale oil lamps that were the original light fixture. Sixteen-inch-diameter metal reflectors helped project the light across the lake. Other duties of the lighthouse keeper included keeping a log of passing ships, noting the weather conditions, and organizing rescue efforts. Upon Wolcott's death in 1832, his wife, Rachel, took over these duties.

The whale oil lamps were replaced in 1858 by the light from a single kerosene lantern magnified by a Fresnel lens. This specialized, curved glass lens created a highly visible, fixed white light.

A lifesaving station was built one-half mile west of the lighthouse in 1876. Lucien Clemons, who with his two brothers saved two sailors from a shipwreck off the peninsula on May 1, 1875, was named the first commander. In 1880, the lighthouse keeper's household moved to a wooden frame home in a more convenient location, next to the lighthouse.

The turn of the century ushered in new technology as well as structural changes including the addition of another 15 feet to the tower's height. A clock-like mechanism was installed to rotate the lantern, creating the appearance of a brilliant flash of light every 10 seconds. This system required that the lighthouse keeper crank the weights every three hours through the night to keep the lantern turning. An improved Fresnel lens with prism surfaces created an even more brilliant beacon.

Modern conveniences came slowly to the timeless light tower. An electric light finally replaced the kerosene lantern in 1923, dramatically increasing the candlepower of the signal. During World War II, the lighthouse became strategically important for national defense. The last civilian lighthouse keeper resigned, and the United States Coast Guard assumed responsibility for the beacon in 1946.

The beacon was automated in 1958, making the Coast Guard's job easier. With its original finish tattered by time and harsh weather, the exterior of the lighthouse tower was given a fresh coat of new stucco the same year.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has maintained the property surrounding the lighthouse since 1972 and proudly accepted ownership of the Marblehead Lighthouse tower in May 1998. The U.S. Coast Guard continues to operate and maintain the lighthouse beacon. Today's 300 mm lens projects a green signal that flashes every six seconds and is visible for eleven nautical miles. The distinctive green distinguishes the lighthouse signal from white lights coming from air beacons.

Marblehead's beloved beacon continues to shine and protect boaters from peril in Lake Erie's unpredictable waters along her rocky shores.
GeneralLand, acres9
 Water, acresGreat Lake
Nearby Accommodations
Camp Patmos - Kelleys Island, OHConference Center
Week long youth camps. Located on the shores of Kelleys Island. Guests will learn to sail, wakeboard, waterski while enjoying the beauty of the Lake Erie island.
Web Site: camppatmos.com
4.7 miles from park*

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Nearby Parks

The grounds surrounding Marblehead lighthouse offer excellent picnicking. Tables are supported by concrete pads. Portable restrooms are available.
Area Attractions
East Harbor State Park features unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation. With Ohio's largest state park campground, boating, fishing, swimming and picnicking are popular while nature enthusiasts will enjoy the abundance of waterfowl, shorebirds and other wildlife found in the park's scenic wetlands.

The Lake Erie Islands offer one of Ohio's most unique vacation location. Limestone cliffs, historic wineries, crystal caverns and a shimmering Great Lake greet visitors to the Lake Erie Islands state parks. These four state parks offer unique island retreats with an atmosphere both festive and casual. Fishing, boating and swimming can be enjoyed at each park.

The Ottawa County Visitors Bureau is an excellent source for travel options and ideas all around the Lake Erie Islands area.
Things To Do in the Area
Camp Patmos - Kelleys Island, OHFamily Outting
Week long youth camps. Located on the shores of Kelleys Island. Guests will learn to sail, wakeboard, waterski while enjoying the beauty of the Lake Erie island.
Web Site: camppatmos.com
4.7 miles from park*
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
August 7 a sunset best
just sitting and enjoying the crushing waves on the rocks and the sunset is the best up against the white lighthouse a great place to visit
July 10 A wonderful site to visit! by BadgerInCBus
Beautiful grounds, wonderful views, and a great museum.

Area Campgrounds

Bayshore Estates Campground
2311 Cleveland Road
Sandusky, OH

Camper Village
One Cedar Point Drive
Sandusky, OH

Cedarlane RV Park
2926 N. E. Catawba Rd.
Port Clinton, OH

Seneca Campgrounds
6955 South S.R. 101
Clyde, OH

Fox's Den Campground
P. O. Box 345
Put-In-Bay, OH

Huron River Valley
9019 River Road
Huron, OH

Portage Cove Park & Marina Condo
531 S. Findlay St
Port Clinton, OH

Traveland's Camp-Sandusky
3518 Tiffen Avenue
Sandusky, OH

Family Camping Center
2318 E. Harbor Rd.
Port Clinton, OH

Surf Motel & RV Campground
230 East Main Street
Marblehead, OH

Tall Timbers Campground Resort
340 S. Christy Chapel Road
Port Clinton, OH

Shade Acres Campground & Cottages
1810 W. Catawba Rd.
Port Clinton, OH

Camp Sandusky
3518 Tiffin Ave
Sandusky, OH

St. Hazards Village on the Beach
1233 Fox Rd
Middle Bass Island, OH

Crystal Rock Campground
710 Crystal Rock Rd
Sandusky, OH

Leafy Oaks Campground, Inc
6955 State Route 101
Clyde, OH

Plymouth Shore on the Bay
8010 East Bayshore Road
Marblehead, OH

Area Fishing Related Businesses
Sandy Shore Variety Store Inc
215 Meigs St
Sandusky, OH
(419) 626-1291

Pipe Creek Marina
2312 River Ave
Sandusky, OH
(419) 621-1111

C & J's Bait Shop
235 E Shoreline Dr
Sandusky, OH
(419) 609-3601

Sunnybrook Conference Ctr
1104 Fremont Ave
Sandusky, OH
(419) 625-8353

Captain Hook Sport Fishing Charters
503 Scheid Rd
Sandusky, OH
Unverified listing

Rickard's Bait & Tackle
17 NE Catawba Rd
Port Clinton, OH
(419) 734-2496

Herb's Sportsman's Supply
1713 NE Catawba Rd
Port Clinton, OH
(419) 797-2455

Fishermens Trading Post
255 Se Catawba Rd
Port Clinton, OH
(419) 732-2076

Area Cabins and Lodges
Clarion Inn-Sandusky
1119 Sandusky Mall Blvd
Sandusky, OH
(419) 625-6280

Fort Firelands RV Park
5650 East Harbor Rd
Lakeside Marblhd, OH
(419) 734-1237

Skippers Marina & Resort
7555 East Harbor Rd
Lakeside Marblhd, OH
(419) 734-3664

Beach Cliff Lodge
4189 NW Catawba Rd
Port Clinton, OH
(419) 797-4553

Char-Nel Shores Resorts
2327 E Sand Rd
Port Clinton, OH
(419) 734-3356

Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
Indian Creek Camp Conference Center - Tecumseh, MICampgrounds
Enjoy Southeast Michigan's Best Family Camping experience at our clean, quiet, friendly campground. Jumping Pillow, WiFi, Paddle Boats, Minigolf, Swimming, Bicycling and more
Web Site: indiancreekcamping.com
70 miles from park*
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4049 E Moore’s Dock Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452

USA Parks
Northwest Ohio Region
Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
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