“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hamburg in Erie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Lighthouse LV82

Guardian of the Buffalo Harbor

Lighthouse LV82 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, April 28, 2019
1. Lighthouse LV82 Marker
Inscription.  Prior to the construction of land based lighthouses, lightships were used to provide navigational guidance along shipping lanes of the Great Lakes. Lightship LV82 was built in July 1912 with a steel hull and whaleback forecastle deck. It measured 95 feet in length and 21 feet in width, and had a displacement of 187 tons. The ship was powered by a high pressure steam engine that ran a five feet diameter propeller. Its beacon light was mounted at the top of a 30 feet high mast. LV82 was placed into operation on August 3, 1912. It was stationed in the eastern basin of Lake Erie, 13 miles from the entrance to the Buffalo Harbor, which at the time was one of the busiest ports in the world. The crew consisted of six men:

Hugh M. Williams - Captain
Cornelius Leahy -Assistant Engineer
William Jensen - Seaman
Peter Mackey - Cook
Andrew Leahy-Mate
Charles W. Butler - Chief Engineer

A powerful storm began on Lake Superior on November 7, 1913, and moved through Lake Erie on November 10th. Serving as a bleak start to winter, the “Great Storm of 1913” packed winds of up to 80 miles per hour, with 35
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feet high waves accompanied by heavy snow. The storm caused more than a dozen Great Lakes ships to meet their demise, and nearly 250 sailors perished. Among the lives lost were all six men assigned to Lightship LV82. The morning after the storm, bits and pieces of LV82 began to wash ashore in the Buffalo Harbor, confirming its loss. How such a new, sturdily built steel vessel could have gone down was one of the biggest questions of the day.

The following May, LV82 was located on the bottom of Lake Erie at a depth of 62 feet. Divers marked its location with a buoy, two miles from its assigned station. A major salvage operation was undertaken to raise LV82, which was finally brought to the surface in September 1915. The battered ship was towed to Detroit for rebuilding so that it could again be used as a lightship. However Lightship LV82 Guardian of the Buffalo Harbor following Canada's construction of the Point Abino lighthouse in 1917, lightships were no longer needed in the Buffalo Harbor area. LV82 was instead used as a relief lightship in other parts of the Great Lakes from 1916 to 1935, until being replaced in 1936 by the construction of a lighthouse at Eleven Foot Shoal in Lake Michigan.

Sources: (1) Buffalo History Works (2) United States Coast Guard
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Waterways & Vessels
Lighthouse LV82 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, April 28, 2019
2. Lighthouse LV82 Marker
. In addition, it is included in the Lighthouses series list. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1912.
Location. 42° 46.423′ N, 78° 51.841′ W. Marker is in Hamburg, New York, in Erie County. Marker is at the intersection of New York State Route 5 and Big Tree Road, on the right when traveling west on State Route 5. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hamburg NY 14075, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Alhambra (a few steps from this marker); Aaron Salisbury (a few steps from this marker); Historic Lake Avenue (approx. 2.4 miles away); Blasdell High School (approx. 2.4 miles away); Lake Erie (approx. 2.6 miles away); Stage Coach Stop (approx. 2.8 miles away); Donald "Duke" Spittler (approx. 3.9 miles away); Site of Abbot's Corners Presbyterian Church (approx. 3.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hamburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 29, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 28, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 166 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 28, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 3, 2023