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Monroe, MI  Lighthouse destroyed.   

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Monroe Lighthouse

1828 – The act of May 23, 1828, provides “that the Secretary of the Treasury be empowered to provide by contract for building a light-house at Otter Creek Point, at he head of Lake Erie, in the State of Michigan. $5,000 provided.

1838 – The light on Otter-creek point, at the foot of lake St. Clair, though a new building, was considerably leaky in the platform at the top, on which the base of the lantern rests; also, in several parts of the main wall of the building, from the plastering mortar on the outside having come off. The repairs so necessary for this building have since received the attention of the collector of Detroit, in whose district it is situated. In other respects the condition of this light was satisfactory.

1838 – Otter-creek point light-house, State of Michigan.—This is lighted with eleven lamps, and as many bright reflectors fixed. This light, situated at a distance of seven miles north from Turtle island, in La Plaisance bay, is serviceable, and indispensably necessary for the commerce of Monroe, until a light is established at the new entrance to the harbor. This improvement consists of a ship-canal cut across a point three-fourths of a mile in length, 100 feet wide, and about 12 feet deep, connecting the deep water of the river with the deep water of the lake, and affording the only remedy to the present defect in this harbor—a very extensive and troublesome bar of shifting sand, at the mouth of the river. The canal is merely a new mouth to the river; and the piers already completed, or nearly so, will prevent the accumulation of a bar at the mouth of this artificial channel.
This work (I judge from my own observation) will be completed about the 1st of July next, if Congress should make the necessary appropriations this winter; the cost of which, as estimated by Colonel Henry Smith, engineer, will be about twenty-five thousand dollars. A beacon-light on one of the piers at the entrance will be absolutely necessary, and will supersede the necessity of the present light-house. A dwelling for the tender will also be necessary; for all of which I would recommend an early appropriation. An estimate of the amount required is respectfully submitted, and annexed.
There is, perhaps, no point on either of the lakes of greater importance than the mouth of the river Raisin. It is the only artificial harbor on lake Erie, in the State of Michigan; and that State, aware of the great commercial importance of this position, is now constructing a State railroad from lake Michigan to Monroe, (the city at the mouth of the river Raisin,) that will pass through the whole length of the southern and most fertile tier of counties in Michigan, and through a district along the line entirely settled, and under cultivation. The road is now nearly completed for the distance of about sixty miles, commencing at Monroe; and that distance, or more, will doubtless be completed early in the ensuing season.
The railroad will, of course, be comparatively unproductive to the State until the completion of the harbor, and the establishment of the beacon light at its entrance. Monroe is an incorporated city, and the second town in commercial importance, as well as in wealth and population, in Michigan. The number of its inhabitants is between three thousand and three thousand five hundred. The town is advantageously situated on both sides of the river Raisin—across which stream two bridges have been built above the head of navigation, and two more are about being constructed—including within its limits an immense hydraulic power, while it also embraces the head of navigation for laden vessels of the largest class. This place also forms the termination of three railroads now in progress, (including the State road,) three or four others projected and chartered by law, and eight or ten ordinary roads.
I offer this brief statistical notice, believing that the Department will concur with my opinion of the great importance of this point as a port of refuge for vessels in foul weather.
An estimate for a beacon and dwelling will be forwarded in a few days.

1838 – CITY OF MONROE, (MICHIGAN,) In Common Council, October 26, 1838. SIR: The mayor, recorder, and common council of the city of Monroe, in meeting assembled, beg leave respectfully to represent, that they have learned with extreme regret that the inspector recently appointed under the authority of the United States, and authorized to visit and inspect the light-houses on lake Erie, has reported to the proper Department against the utility of keeping up and continuing in repair the lighthouse at La Plaisance bay, near this city. They beg leave to state that regular lines of steamboats and other vessels are daily arriving in and departing from La Plaisance bay harbor, guided, as they necessarily must be, when entering and departing in the night, by the light-house located at that point. We deem it, therefore, of the utmost importance to the commercial interests of this city, that the said light should be continued as at present located. They would further remark, that the Government, by several successive appropriations, have caused a breakwater to be constructed, which has deepened the channel, and rendered the harbor more commodious and safe; which facility, together with the light-house, has induced individuals and companies to construct, not only an extensive and commodious warehouse and extensive pier-work, leading from the main land to deep water, but likewise, at a great expense, a permanent railroad, (by virtue of a charter granted by the State,) on which pleasure and transportation cars are running daily from the extremity of said pier to the heart of this city: which works were constructed, and the great expenses thus incurred, under the well-founded belief that no part of the valuable facilities afforded heretofore by the liberality of the Government would be withdrawn. It is true that repairs are necessary to protect the light-house from the depredation of the waters of lake Erie; but as the expense attending such repairs would be trifling, it is hoped that an appropriation will be recommended by the Department, in accordance with the report of the collector of the port of Detroit, for that purpose; and that by all means the present location will not be disturbed. Very respectfully, yours, &c.
J. Q. ADAMS, Mayor. Attest: CARLOS COLTON, City Clerk.
Hon. LEVI WOODBURY,
Secretary of the Treasury of the U. S.

1850 – Monroe June 24, 1850. Everything in good order. Conduct of keeper good.

1853 – OFFICE LIGHT-HOUSE INSPECTOR, Buffalo, May 21, 1853.
SIR: In accordance with your orders, I have examined the light house pier at the mouth of river Raisin, near Monroe, Michigan.
The beacon is a frame structure, having a foundation of piles, which remains secure. The pier-head or crib-work surrounding this foundation has settled unequally, so that the lake end is three feet lower than the land end. It was probably built with a bottom, to which this settling must be attributed. The timber being in a good state of preservation, it would not seem judicious to tear down any portion of it. I therefore propose to place a protecting crib at the extremity of the pier, on its prolongation, and at a distance from it of about three feet; the openings between the pier-head and the new crib to be covered by a double row of piles, well secured by lateral ties, so as to prevent the washing out of the stone. Build up the present pier-head to its original height, and throughout this portion tie it firmly with the new work. The new crib, besides offering protection to the new beacon, also prolongs the light house pier, which is the weather pier, about thirty feet. It is proposed, also, to close two breaches in the pier, and repair in front of the keeper's house, which will exhaust the amount of the appropriation.
A portion of this pier adjacent to the pier head, for a distance of 364 feet, remains in an unfinished though perfect state of preservation. It is submerged about three feet. It is 18 feet wide. The posts rising some four feet above the water, tend to break the wave. To these posts a foot-bridge is attached, which enables the keeper to serve the light. The remaining portion of the pier, about three logs above water, and of a length of 512 feet, is in a very dilapidated condition, and will need renewing very soon. A portion of it has an inclination towards the channel, owing to its narrow base, which is only eight feet. In renewing it, a work with a base of much greater width should be constructed.
I submit herewith an estimate for repairs, limited to the amount of the appropriation. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. WOODRUFF, Capt. Top. Eng.,
Light house Inspector, 10th District.
Capt. E. L. F. HARDCASTLE, Corps Top. Eng.,
Secretary Light-house Board.

1854 – Otter Creek lighthouse and site sold and title conveyed in conformity to law.

1855 – Keeper Jon. Paxton $350

1855 – Repairs of light-house foundations and piers at Monroe, Michigan.— The materials, lumber, &c., were collected in part, and the framing of the work commenced.

1868 – Monroe.—The wooden tower requires repainting. The lantern (of the old pattern) leaks in the roof and around the base. The deck leaks also. There is no covered passage between the tower and dwelling, though close to each other.
The dwelling, also of wood, needs extensive repairs; the planking of the pier to be removed. An estimate of the cost of putting this station in proper repair is submitted.

1869 – Monroe.—The wooden tower has been supplied with a new lantern and deck, and has been repainted. A covered wooden passageway has been made between the tower and dwelling. The dwelling has been repaired, and the planking of the pier on which the buildings stand renewed.

1873 – Monroe, Lake Erie, Michigan.—The keeper’s dwelling is in a ruinous condition; has no foundation, except a few rotten logs, and has a very exposed position, now entirely unsafe.
The pier-head needs renewal, but cannot be touched without endangering the dwelling. Eighty rods back from its present position, there is a safe beach about 5 feet high above the water.
It is recommended to build a house there of the same model as at Oak Orchard or Fair Haven, New York, leaving the tower for the present, which is on a safe pile foundation.
An appropriation of $3,000 is required for building keeper's dwelling.

1879 – Monroe, Michigan. Light changed from fixed white to fixed red, spring of 1879.

1880 – Monroe, entrance to River Raisin, Lake Erie, Michigan.—The dome and watch-room of the tower, the boat house, and kitchen were repainted, and some slight repairs to the tower were made.

1884 – Monroe, on crib at outer end of north pier, entrance to River Raisin, Lake Erie, Michigan.—Plans were prepared for rebuilding the keeper’s dwelling. This will be begun at an early date.

1885 – Monroe, on the crib at the outer end of the north pier, entrance to the ship-canal leading into Raisin River, Lake Erie, Michigan.—The keeper’s dwelling was rebuilt, and the station is now in good order.

1890 – Monroe, entrance to River Raisin, Lake Erie, Michigan.—The station was provided with a cistern. The material and labor required in making repairs to the pile protection to the pier and dwelling were furnished by contract. In removing a portion of the old pile protection to make repairs thereto, it was found that it will be necessary to continue the repairs to the pile protection and parapet, on the north face of the pier, for which estimates have been made. Minor repairs were made.

1891 – Monroe, entrance to River Raisin, Lake Erie, Michigan.—The material and labor required for continuing 90 feet shoreward the parapet and pile protection to the pierhead and dwelling on the channel face of the north pier, and renewing the decking of the front of the north face of the dwelling, were furnished by contract. Various repairs were made.

1893 – Monroe, entrance to River Raisin, Lake Erie, Michigan.—The keeper’s dwelling was put in good repair. During a heavy northeast gale on April 19 and 20, 1893, much damage was done to the lighthouse and premises which was repaired. A foundation was made for a circular iron oil house at a point about 21 feet west from the keeper’s dwelling on the north side of the pier. The metalwork for the oil house was made under contract and was delivered at Cleveland, ready for shipment to the site by the light house tender Haze.

1894 – Monroe, entrance to River Raisin, Lake Erie, Ohio.—A new circular iron house for oil storage was erected on the pier near the dwelling. It is on a substantial foundation of masonry rising 8 feet above water and is lined with brick and has iron shelving. Various minor' repairs were made.

1899 – Monroe, entrance to River Raisin, Lake Erie, Michigan.—A section of the superstructure of the pier on the north side of the keeper’s dwelling was rebuilt above the water level. Various repairs were made.

1902 – Monroe, entrance to River Raisin, Lake Erie, Michigan.— A contract dated June 11, 1902, was for the rebuilding of the superstructure of the south and east sections of the pier foundation of the station, the work consisting of the removal of the timber and pile work to an elevation of —2.25 feet referred to mean lake level, and rebuilding the superstructure with concrete inclosing walls, parapet and deck, and stone filling.

1907 – Monroe, entrance to Raisin River, Lake Erie, Ohio.-A walk leading to the boathouse was laid and various repairs were made.

1916 – Monroe Light, Lake Erie. Monroe Light was changed on April 5, 1916, to a flashing light every 3 seconds, flash 0.3 second duration, of 230 candlepower, shown about 34 feet above water, on a white, square pyramidal skeleton steel tower on crib. The light is visible 12 miles.

1933 – Due to removal of north pier in the improvement of Monroe Harbor, by U.S. Engineers, Monroe Light was discontinued on May 7, 1922. Raisin River Lighted Buoy 16 was then temporarily established at a point 212 feet 129 degrees from former Monroe Light.

1934 – Monroe Range Lights were established November 1, 1934, on the projected centerline of the dredge channel. Each light is fixed red, of 15,000 candlepower, on white skeleton towers, with white slatted daymarks. Front light is 32 feet above water Rear light, 91 feet. Both lights show over a limited arc covering the entrance channel.

1941 – The intensity of Monroe Range Lights was increased to 48,000 candlepower.

Keepers: John Whipple (1829 – 1836), Lewis Bond (1836 – 1849), John W. Anderson (1849 – at least 1851), John Paxton (1853 – 1859), Benjamin Sherman (1859 – 1861), Joseph Guyons (1861 – 1865), Israel Noble (1865 – 1872), James A. McGlenn (1873 – 1888), Peter Gussenbauer (1888 – 1904), William Haynes (1904 – 1907), August Gramer (1907 – 1908), August H. Sanners (1908 – 1916).


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