Conneaut West Breakwater Lighthouse
This lighthouse dates back to 1835 when a light was placed on a pier in the harbor. The lighthouse in the harbor was built in the 1890s on the east pier and later reconstructed in 1935 at the end of a long breakwater on the western side of the harbor. The main purpose of the Conneaut Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse was to guide boats to shore. Ashtabula County, Ohio, which borders Conneaut, was a leading harbor for the transport of grain. Today, the lighthouse can be seen for miles and is one of the main historic attractions for the community of Conneaut, Ohio.
Backstory and Context
Conneaut harbor was an important shipping point for grain, whiskey, and forest products in the 19th century. The first version of this lighthouse was built in 1835, but was only a light on the edge of a pier at first. The light house was built in 1890s and was later joined by two piers built at the mouth of the Conneaut River. The first lighthouse was built on top of the eastern pier.
The original lighthouse was built of wood and lighted with four plain lamps. In 1838, Charles T. Platt inspected the lighthouse and had recommended lamps instead of the candle powered light. Eventually, the lighthouse received an 11,000-candlepower light source atop the shaft that produced a beam that could be seen 17 miles. The lighthouse also had a fog horn that could be heard 15 miles out in every direction. In the first years, the lighthouse was controlled from the shore house by a lighthouse keeper and an assistant. In the winter months travel slowed owing to ice and the light was inactive. A home for a lighthouse keeper was added in 1872. The lantern room that was on the original lighthouse was used until replaced it with a modern and automated beacon room. Today, the beacon room shines alternating red and white flashes within a five second period.
The original pier is not standing and there is no longer access to the lighthouse. Many people have drowned over the years trying to swim to the lighthouse. This lighthouse can still be seen from the original boardwalk, and it remains one of the most monumental and most historical things in Conneaut.