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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
South Haven in Van Buren County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

South Haven Lighthouse

 
 
South Haven Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 24, 2017
1. South Haven Lighthouse Marker
Inscription.
The first light was erected in 1873 at the end of a 225 foot wooden pier that had been in use since 1861. The square pyramid wooden structure consisted of two rooms mounted on a raised platform. The bottom room was for oil storage, the top room housed the lamp. The lamp was lit at ten minutes before sunset, and by midnight, it was necessary to change lamps as the oil in the first one was nearly depleted by that time. At sunrise, the lamp was extinguished. Measuring 37'6" from the lake level to the tip of the flame of the lamp, the beacon could ordinarily be seen from 11 to 15 miles depending on weather conditions.

Historical Association of South Haven
& The Appleyard family in memory of Richard & Allegra Appleyard

 
Erected by Historical Association of South Haven, The Appleyard family in memory of Richard & Allegra Appleyard, and Michigan Maritime Museum.
 
Location. 42° 24.111′ N, 86° 17.016′ W. Marker is in South Haven, Michigan, in Van Buren County. Marker can be reached from Water Street 0.1 miles west of St. Joseph Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located on the South Haven Harbor Walk, near the east end of South
Marker detail: First wooden pier and light tower image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: First wooden pier and light tower
By the turn of the century, the wooden pier and light tower had already become a South Haven landmark. Notice the advertisement for Abell's Drug Store on the side of the pier.
Beach Park. Marker overlooks the beach park, pier catwalk and lighthouse (from a distance). Marker is at or near this postal address: 10 Water Street, South Haven MI 49090, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lifesaving Station (within shouting distance of this marker); Birth of City Utilities (within shouting distance of this marker); History of the Channel Piers (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Over a Century of Tourism (about 300 feet away); Resort Industry (about 300 feet away); The Lightkeeper's Dwelling (about 600 feet away); Entertainment Around the Harbor (approx. 0.3 miles away); Commercial Shipping (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Haven.
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted horizontally on waist-high posts. Marker is part of South Haven's Harbor Walk series.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. South Haven Harbor Walk
 
Also see . . .
1. The South Haven South Pierhead Light. The South Haven South Pierhead Light is a lighthouse in Michigan, at the entrance to the Black River on Lake Michigan. The station
Marker detail: Extending the pier image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Extending the pier
Every time the pier was lengthened, the pier had to be placed on a barge, floated to the middle of the river, and then reinstalled at the new pier head. The original wooden light tower was repositioned at least four times as the pier was extended 300' to 700'. It should also be noted that every time the South Pier was lengthened, the North Pier also had to be lengthened.
was lit in 1872, and is still operational. The tower is a shortened version of the Muskegon South Pierhead Light, and replaced an 1872 wooden tower. The catwalk is original and still links the tower to shore: it is one of only four that survive in the State of Michigan. (Submitted on June 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. South Haven, Michigan Light House (Pier Light). Throughout the 1860’s, as South Haven grew as a port, several attempts were made to increase the width of the channel. Already the Black River served as an important means for the settlers to transport lumber products to the cities along the lakes. By 1867, the width of the channel was such to allow almost any vessel through. Soon, it became evident that a pier head beacon at the end of the pier, along with a keepers dwelling, should be developed. In 1868, the Lighthouse Board requested money for construction of the pier head beacon on the chosen site, but there were setbacks. In 1871, construction finally began on a bluff near the shore. By 1872, the original South Haven light shone for the first time. (Submitted on June 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. South Haven, Michigan, Lighthouse Logs, 1872-1889. The lighthouse journals from South Haven, Michigan span from 1872 to 1889. James Donahue served as the keeper of the South
Marker detail: The two-masted schooner <i>Annie Thorne</i> image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: The two-masted schooner Annie Thorne
The two-masted schooner Annie Thorne as it leaves the harbor with a load of lumber for Chicago.
Haven station for most of the period from 1872 to 1889. An earlier keeper, Captain William P. Bryan completed the first entries. The logs have been photographed to provide access to an insight into the daily duties of the light keeper. Donahue provides detailed entries about his daily activities and tasks in the Light Station, and descriptions about shipwrecks, including the name of the ship and the fate of the crew. In addition to accounts of the operation of the lighthouse, Donahue also provided intimate insights into the lives of his family and sometimes community members. (Submitted on June 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

4. South Haven Harbor Walk. This South Haven Harbor Walk map shows the location of this and other historical markers in South Haven. (Submitted on June 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

5. The South Haven Lighthouse. The South Pier and lighthouse has seen many changes over the years: In 1901, the 30′ wood tower was moved some 250′ to the new pier head with an elevated walkway. Two years later, after 30 years of harsh Lake Michigan weather, the old wood tower was replaced a new 35′ cylindrical metal tower. In 1913 the piers were extended once more, and the tower was moved 425 feet to a new location at the end of the pier. In 1916 a fifty-two foot tall steel range tower was built on the pier some 800 feet inward from the pier head light. Later the range
Marker detail: The first pier was built in 1861 and was 225 ft. long image. Click for full size.
July 24, 2017
5. Marker detail: The first pier was built in 1861 and was 225 ft. long
Built during the first year of the Civil War, it would be another eleven years before the first harbor light was erected.
tower was removed. In 1923, the mineral oil-fired lamp was replaced with a 200 watt electric bulb and the hand-operated bellows-type fog horn was replaced by a 1600-pound electrified fog bell. The Fog Bell was replaced by a drone-type fog horn with an audible range of 15 miles in 1937. In 1940, today’s 1200-foot concrete pier was constructed and sometime after that The wood walkway was replaced with an iron system salvaged from a job site in Chicago and like many Great Lakes Lighthouses, the tower was received its distinctive red exterior. (Submitted on June 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. LandmarksMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
South Haven Lighthouse Marker (<i>wide view; lighthouse in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 24, 2017
6. South Haven Lighthouse Marker (wide view; lighthouse in background)
South Haven Lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 24, 2017
7. South Haven Lighthouse
South Haven Lighthouse & Pier Catwalk image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 24, 2017
8. South Haven Lighthouse & Pier Catwalk
South Haven Lighthouse 2012 Donation Plaque (<i>mounted on the lightouse door</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 24, 2017
9. South Haven Lighthouse 2012 Donation Plaque (mounted on the lightouse door)
South Pier and Black River Channel image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 24, 2017
10. South Pier and Black River Channel
South Haven Lighthouse Catwalk image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 24, 2017
11. South Haven Lighthouse Catwalk
South Haven Pier and Lighthouse (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 24, 2017
12. South Haven Pier and Lighthouse (wide view)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 11, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 48 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   7, 8, 9. submitted on June 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   10, 11, 12. submitted on July 8, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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