HISTORIC LENS RETURNS TO MARBLEHEAD LIGHTHOUSE STATE PARK|
MARBLEHEAD, OH - The Fresnel lens, which magnified the life-saving
beacon at Marblehead Lighthouse for 65 years, will go on display at
Marblehead Lighthouse State Park in Ottawa County, beginning Tuesday, May
25, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
"It is only fitting that we return this historically significant
lens to its home at Marblehead Lighthouse State Park," said ODNR Director
Sam Speck. "We thank the U.S. Coast Guard and Marblehead Lighthouse
Historical Society for helping us preserve and display this artifact for all
who visit this site."
The 5-foot, 300-plus pound lens will be featured in the on-site
Keepers' House, located adjacent to the lighthouse itself. About 1.3 million
people visit the park each year.
The lens was manufactured in France and displayed at the 1904 St.
Louis World's Fair before being installed in the Marblehead Lighthouse
tower. It helped give the lighthouse beacon its powerful 330,000 candlepower
signal, which was visible for up to 16 miles on a clear night. Use of the
lens continued into the era of electricity, until 1969, when it was
dismantled and shipped to Detroit. Enterprising Marblehead residents
recovered the lens a few years later and returned it to the U.S. Coast Guard
Station at Marblehead where it has been stored ever since.
Retired U.S. Coast Guard employee James Woodward, a professional
lampist, supervised transfer of the lens from its storage area in the Coast
Guard station to the on-site Keepers' House. Staff from East Harbor State
Park constructed the lens display unit.
"The Marblehead lens needed to assume its rightful place at the
lighthouse," said Senior Chief James Bordell of the U.S. Coast Guard
Marblehead Station. "The Coast Guard was happy to assist in that effort."
Marblehead Lighthouse, built in 1821, is the oldest lighthouse on
the Great Lakes in continuous operation. It is located on the eastern-most
tip of Marblehead Peninsula at the entrance to Sandusky Bay. The lighthouse,
on-site Keepers' House and surrounding grounds became a state park in 1998.