Thursday, May 16, 2013

Whitefish Point and Crisp Point Lighthouses

Odometer  32308 miles
Trip meter  75 miles

It was hard to leave the Sault Ste Marie with an RV space like this one, right on the edge of the Saint Mary's River down stream from the Soo Locks.

Luckily, we had quite an itenerary to get us motivated to get up and get going,  After loading up on fuel for the motorhome, we headed south on  I-75 for several miles before taking M123 west towards Newberry.
After locating and getting set up in the Northcountry RV Park just outside Newberry, we had a quick lunch and headed out in the Honda CRV for Whitefish Point and the lighthouse and Ship Wreck Museum that are there.

This is the Whitefish Point Lighthouse as it has been restored and preserved today.  Although it is called the oldest light on Lake Superior, first lit in 1849,  this is not the original tower- this metal tower replaced the original lighhouse in 1861.

Also on the grounds of the lightstation is the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, dedicated to articles and artifacts on the over 3000 shipwrecks on the Lakes.  The most popular of the exhibits is the space devoted to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in November of 1975

Joan took this photo of me standing next to the bell taken off the Fitz for display here.  As this bell was taken, a duplicate bell with the names of those who perished was left in it's place.

Also a part of the museum, is a display on the Lifesaving Service that patrolled the lakes from March through January- the shipping season before the ice stopped all ships for the year.  These intrepid men and women were the equivalent of the modern day Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers- only they used these self- bailing surf boats, powered by oars.

This particular craft is an exact replica of the ones used at this life station circa 1923.  It had 6 rowing positions and a coxwain in the rear with a steering oar.  The 26 foot long boat has an air chamber below the floor and scupper holes in the sides at deck level to let water run out.

Crisp Point Lighthouse

From Whitefish Point, we drove another hour and a half west to visit the Crisp Point Lighthouse.
We were told to expect a very slow and bumpy ride over a graded road.  What we didn't know was that there was no gravel on the road- it was graded soil.  We were very fortunate that the road had just been graded, and that very few visitors had ventured out here yet.  Yes that is snow across the road on May 16th!

When we finally arrived at the lighthouse it was all worth it!
This lighthouse was built at the site of a Life Saving Station which began operation in 1875.  The light house was not built until 1904 almost 30 years later.  The light was decomissioned by the Coast Guard in 1993 and many of the outbuildings were intentionally destroyed- leaving only the lighhouse and the entry room.  By the time the Luce County Historical Society gained a lease, the entry room had been destroyed in a storm.  The Historical Society and their volunteers have done a fabulous job of reconditioning the lighthouse and some of the out buildings.

We were allowed to climb the 71 iron spiral stairs to the lantern room, and even get out onto the balcony that runs around the top.

Joan and I felt that the hour drive in on dirt roads was very much worth it- what a great venture this was!

Tomorrow we are off again to Munising, MI and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  Stay Tuned!

Your Traveling Friends,

Jeff and Joan

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