Lorain Breakwater Lighthouse
Located at the mouth of the Black River in downtown Lorain is the Lorain Breakwater Lighthouse built in 1917.
The lighthouse was built with 10" thick poured concrete and steel walls. In 1932 an electric light was installed. The lighthouse’s rotating beam projected 15 miles. The 50,000 candle power beacon was located 58' above Lake Erie. The beam flashed in the direction of the observer every 10 seconds.
In 1939, the U.S. Coast Guard took over operation of the Lighthouse. According to William Deverick, Lighthouse Keeper from 1957 to 1960, the inside of the Lighthouse consisted of a basement inside the crib of the structure with 3 floors above and a light tower. The first floor had the engine room, control panel, air compressors for a fog horn, auxiliary power generators, a tool room and the furnace.
In 1965, the US Coast Guard decommissioned the Lighthouse and the building was slated for demolition to make way for a planned $22 million harbor improvement program including a fully automatic light that would be erected at the west tip of the new outer harbor break wall. The automated light would be visible for 18—20 miles. When the new light beacon was installed, the Lighthouse’s lens was removed and a small, red Coast Guard warning marker light was inserted in its place. The new automated light meant the 3 Coast Guardsmen were no longer required at the old building. As it became apparent the lighthouse station was no longer occupied, there was considerable vandalism on the building. However, this vandalism proved to be only cosmetic, and there was no structural damage. Finally, the Coast Guard welded the shutters and doors closed to prevent further damage.
A group of concerned citizens mobilized to prevent the demolition of the Lighthouse. and the US Coast Guard reversed its decision to demolish the lighthouse due to this concerted effort at preserving the site. In 1977 the Lorain County Historical Society was awarded the deed to the Lorain Lighthouse by the General Services Administration. The Lorain County Historical Society received the deed with the stipulation that the Lighthouse be maintained as an historic landmark. In December of the 1978 the Lorain Lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Port of Lorain Foundation, Inc. is currently promoting a $3 million dollar fund-raising campaign to help restore the lighthouse. Preservation of the Lighthouse will involve restoration of the base with installation of sheet piling around the structure to protect it from further deterioration (estimated to cost $750,000), and repair and restoration of the exterior and restoration of the interior. Upon completion of repairs to the base of the structure the Foundation’s efforts will then be directed toward restoration of the Lighthouse structure itself.
Jewel of the Port
"Jewel of the Port®" is the trademarked name for the Lorain Lighthouse which is owned and operated by the Port of Lorain Foundation, Inc.