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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
East Tawas in Iosco County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

A New Light on the Horizon

 
 
A New Light on the Horizon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 24, 2018
1. A New Light on the Horizon Marker
Inscription. Ottawa Point (now called Tawas Point) presents a hazard to navigation as it juts out into Lake Huron. It also shelters Tawas Bay, protecting ships from strong north or northeast winds.

In 1850, The Federal government set aside $5000 to build a lighthouse near the end of Ottawa Point. The Lighthouse Service paid Daniel S. Ellethorpe $200 for the 30-acre property. Construction started sometime after December 12, 1852. The lighthouse marked the location of the point so mariners could either avoid it or seek refuge in a storm.

In 1876, the U. S. Lifesaving Service established a station at Ottawa Point.

The first Tawas Point lighthouse was a short tower with a wide base. The lantern room was tall, and windows in the tower provided natural lighting for the stairway.

The Ottawa Point Lighthouse joined others built on the American shore of Huron before the Civil War:
Fort Gratiot (Port Huron) 1825; Thunder Bay Island 1832; Bois Blanc 1839;
Presque Isle 1840; Saginaw Bay 1841; Point Aux Barques 1847; Detour 1847;
Cheboygan 1851; Ottawa Point (Tawas Point) 1853; Charity Island 1857

 
Erected by Michigan Historical Center & Michigan Historical Museum.
 
Location. 44° 
Marker detail: 1848 Map of the Great Lakes image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: 1848 Map of the Great Lakes
This 1848 map shows the location of early lighthouses on the Great Lakes. The Tawas Point light is not shown because it was not built until 1853.
15.247′ N, 83° 26.943′ W. Marker is in East Tawas, Michigan, in Iosco County. Marker can be reached from Tawas Beach Road 3 miles east of U.S. 23. Touch for map. Marker is located inside Tawas Point State Park, at the end of Tawas Beach Road, along the walking path on the northeast side of the lighthouse. Marker is at or near this postal address: 686 Tawas Beach Road, East Tawas MI 48730, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Preserving the Light (here, next to this marker); The Changing Shape of Tawas Point (here, next to this marker); Tawas Point Light Station (a few steps from this marker); Double Dwelling (within shouting distance of this marker); Tawas Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Oil House (within shouting distance of this marker); Konotin-Iosco (approx. 3 miles away); Alabaster (approx. 6.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in East Tawas.
 
More about this marker. This is a tall, metal, triangular, "kiosk-style" marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. Tawas Point Lighthouse. A forty-five-foot-tall, rubblestone tower, which tapered from a diameter of twelve feet at its base to six feet, four inches at its octagonal cast-iron lantern room, was completed in 1952 and, at
Marker detail: 1880 Great Lakes map image. Click for full size.
July 24, 2018
3. Marker detail: 1880 Great Lakes map
The steady growth of vessel traffic on Lake Huron resulted in better charts of the area. This map was published by the War Department, Bureau of Topographical Engineers around 1880. On it you can see the discontinued 1853 lighthouse, the new Tawas lighthouse, and the U.S. Lifesaving Station.
the opening of navigation in 1853, started displaying a fixed white light produced by seven lamps set in fourteen-inch reflectors. On March 3, 1875, Congress appropriated $30,000 for a “light-house on Ottawa Point, or for range to guide into Tawas Bay, on the northeast shore of Saginaw Bay, to be known as Tawas Light.” The Lighthouse Board decided to build the new lighthouse on a shoal, south of Tawas Point, in four feet of water. Work on the tower and dwelling began on August 12, 1876 and was finished by the end of the year. (Submitted on October 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Captain George G. Meade and the United States Lake Survey. In April 1856, at age 41, Lieutenant Meade received a transfer from coastal duty and was sent to Detroit to assist in the ongoing survey of the Great Lakes. In May 1857, he was promoted to captain and placed in command of the survey, replacing Lieutenant Colonel James Kearney, who was reassigned due to ill health. The process entailed mapping the lake shores and navigation hazards; charting the lake bottoms to locate hidden dangers; and mapping projected ship channels. The duty included improvements of existing harbors, as well as searching for potential sites that could be converted into harbors in time of war. Sites for lighthouses, beacons, and buoys also had to be located. The work was
Marker detail: Captain George Gordon Meade image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: Captain George Gordon Meade
Between 1856 and 1860, Captain George Gordon Meade, an army engineer assigned to the Lighthouse Service, led the Lake Survey. During the Civil War, he commanded the Army of the Potomac and led his troops to victory at the Battle of Gettysburg.
daunting. Some 6,000 miles of shoreline were to be surveyed. (Submitted on October 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
A New Light on the Horizon Marker (<i>tall view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 24, 2018
5. A New Light on the Horizon Marker (tall view)
A New Light on the Horizon Marker (<i>wide view; Tawas Lighthouse in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 24, 2018
6. A New Light on the Horizon Marker (wide view; Tawas Lighthouse in background)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 3, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 29, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 31 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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