Fairport Harbor/Fairport Harbor Marine Museum and Lighthouse
Fairport's first lighthouse in 1859
East pier of Fairport in 1874
Fairport Harbor monument commemorating its contributions to LDS history
Fairport Harbor as it looks today
Fresnel lens used in Fairport Harbor Lighthouse located inside Fairport Harbor Marine Museum and Lighthouse.
Backstory and Context
Besides providing crucial services for maritime travel and trade along the Great Lakes and northern Ohio coastline, Fairport Harbor was also a key instrument in the history of the LDS church in Kirtland, Ohio. This comes from the Mormon Historic Sites website:
"Fairport Harbor was important for the Latter-day Saints coming to and leaving Kirtland, Ohio. Fairport lies approximately twelve miles northeast of Kirtland on the shores of Lake Erie. Oliver Cowdery described Fairport as “an excellent harbor, and [it] affords a safe moorage for shipping.”1 Many Saints passed through Fairport Harbor on their way to Kirtland to join members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who gathered there. Likewise, many missionaries passed through Fairport harbor on their way to preach the message of the restored gospel, including the first mission of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to the Eastern States in 1835 and the Church’s first mission to England in 1837.
Additionally, Joseph Smith was reunited here with his ninety-three-year-old grandmother after she traveled to see her children and grandchildren.2 Joseph gave her a blessing and referred to her as “the most honored woman on earth.”3
In 2003, the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation funded this historic plaque, to be placed near the prominent Fairport lighthouse. Mayor Frank Sarosy helped unveil the marker, which pays tribute to the more than 3,000 members of the Church who passed through the harbor.4 A museum exhibit entitled “Fairport Harbor: Gateway to the Gathering” is on display at the Fairport Harbor Museum during the spring and summer and will be displayed at the Lake County Historical Society during the fall and winter. It was also funded and created by the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation."