hearing the word erie - can’t help but to think of a feeling of inexplicable
fear or uneasiness but that word spelled correctly is eerie. The word
means none of that when referring to Lake Erie. It comes from the
Indian tribe who lived along its southern shore. Some say Lake Erie
is the shallowest and stormiest of the Great Lakes. Others say it
contains so many sunken ships it should be called the “Graveyard of
the Inland Seas”. The greatest depth is probably 210 feet.
On a mission of photographing lake lighthouses, from the southwest
we followed the Ohio Lake Erie Coastal Trail to Fairport
Harbor. Our first lighthouse was the Grand River lighthouse
near the mouth of the Grand River (itself). Built in 1825 it now houses
a marine museum. Fairport Harbor lighthouse nearby replaced it in
|The old Grand
River Lighthouse, deactivated, now a museum.
Grand River, in the distance (lower right corner) is the current lighthouse
in Fairport, Ohio.
shore northeasterly we passed the nuclear power plant near Perry,
reminding me of Commander Oliver Perry during “The War of 1812”. His
ship defeated a British ship in a battle that took place in the waters
off this shore.
Approaching Ashtabula late in the month of May, we noticed the beauty
of the Dogwood trees in full bloom. The closest viewpoint of Ashtabula
lighthouse was a difficult photo because a coal powered electric
plant was partly in the way. Speaking with a lady feeding birds in
a park we verified that the water being sprayed on the pile of coal
was to keep the dust down. She said that was only somewhat successful.
their first lighthouse was Conneaut, an intriguing art deco
design reminiscent of Port Washington, WI (Lake Michigan). In Erie,
we found three lighthouses.
|Erie has a harbor
for marine traffic formed by a 7 mile long curved peninsula. It houses
a State Park where the park keeper lives in Presque
Isle lighthouse. At the end of the peninsula is a pier light
named North Point. It marks the peninsula side of the entrance to
the harbor. Nearby fishermen were catching bass, rock bass, perch
and walleye. There were some floating residences in lake coves similar
to those we’ve seen on the Amazon River.
|Back in the city
of Erie we found the third light in Lighthouse Park. A small
lighthouse, nonetheless it marks the landside of the harbor entrance.
corner of Pennsylvania,
it is only 50 miles of lakeshore drive from Ohio to New York State.
We located the Dunkirk, New
York historical lighthouse, but being after hours we photographed
it through a chain link fence.
|Due to the weather
we judged it best to skip Barcelona Lighthouse located near Portland.
We stopped in Evans, New
York 29 miles SW of Buffalo. Looking to find a lighthouse we went
to the Sturgeon Point Marina but the only lighthouse there was a small
replica. A squall is happening now, so we avoided Buffalo. This was
our last glimpse of Lake Erie.
|Buffalo is famous
for more than “Buffalo Wings.” In 1825 it was the Lake Erie end of
a 363-mile long canal from Albany on the Hudson River. The canal forty
feet wide by 4 feet deep spurred the first great movement west of
the Appalachians. Simultaneously the Erie Canal established New York
City as an international center of commerce and finance. About 1850
folks began singing “The Erie Canal” song. This song celebrated the
mules that walked along side the canal, dragging barges of freight.
I’ve got a mule
and her name is Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
She’s a good old worker and a good old pal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal