Millcreek Township near Erie in Erie County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Loneliest Place on Earth
Presque Isle Lighthouse
“The loneliest place on earth” is how Charles Waldo, the first keeper of the Presque Isle Lighthouse, described his 7 year tenure at the station.
Waldo lived at the lighthouse with his family when, on July 12, 1873 he wrote: “This is a new station and a light will be exhibited for the first time tonight. There was one visitor”.
Early U.S. Lighthouse Service keepers were required to “keep the light burning” from sunset until sunrise during the shipping season, April through November. Keepers were paid a total of $520 per year for 365 days of service.
Until a road to the mainland was built in 1927 the keepers and their families were quite lonely, their isolation broken by the arrival of a supply tender several times each year.
Charles Waldo, the first lighthouse keeper, served at this lonely outpost from 1873 until 1880. His wife, Mary, gave birth to daughter Nellie in 1876, the first child known to be born at Presque Isle.
Foods, oil, and supplies were brought to the lighthouse several times each year by a supply boat that docked at a lakeside jetty.
• Charles Waldo 1873-1880
• Orrin J. McAllister 1880-1880 (8 days)
• George E. Town 1880-1883
• Clark McCole 1883-1886
• Lewis Vanetta 1886-1891
• Lewis Walrouse 1891-1892
• Thomas L. Wilkens 1892-1901
• Andrew Shaw 1901-1927
• Frank Huntington 1927-1944
Not listed are those from the U.S. Coast Guard who served as interim residents of the Lighthouse.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Landmarks. In addition, it is included in the Lighthouses series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 12, 1873.
Location. 42° 9.952′ N, 80° 6.842′ W. Marker is near Erie, Pennsylvania, in Erie County. It is in Millcreek Township. Marker can be reached from Peninsula Drive, 0.6 miles east of Fisher Drive, on the left when traveling east. Marker is located along the walkway on the north side of Peninsula Drive, inside the courtyard on the west side of the Presque Isle Lighthouse parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 301 Peninsula Drive, Erie PA 16507, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Five Courses Thick (here, next to this marker); The Flashlight (here, next to this marker); The Peninsula's First Roadway (here, next to this marker); The Perry Monument (approx. 1.4 miles away); Budny Beach (approx. 1.4 miles away); A Climate For War (approx. 1.4 miles away); Preparing For Battle (approx. 1.4 miles away); And the Misery begins… (approx. 1˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Erie.
More about this marker. Marker is a framed, composite plaque, mounted horizontally, at waist-level, on a concrete slab atop a brick pedestal.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Presque Isle Lighthouse
Also see . . . Presque Isle Lighthouse. When it was completed on July 1, 1873, the structure sat upon a limestone foundation, which was five courses thick of brick to protect it from fierce Lake Erie storms. The tower was 40 feet tall and was topped off by a polygonal lantern with a round bottom. Inside the tower, the 72 steps and six landings formed the cast-iron steps, which were forged in Pittsburgh. The attached keeper's quarters were a two-story structure constructed of red brick, which contained ten rooms. Other buildings were erected on the station grounds over the years, which included a barn, storage buildings, and privies. (Submitted on February 16, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2023. It was originally submitted on February 15, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 230 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 16, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.