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Ecorse Lighthouse

1892 – Grassy Island Range Lights, above Grassy Island, Detroit River, Michigan.—The Board is satisfied that these ranges are needed. It is estimated that they can be established at a cost not to exceed $2,500, and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made therefore.
An appropriation of $1,500 was made for establishing Grassy Island Range in the sundry civil appropriation act which was approved on August 5, 1892. Measures will be taken to establish the range as soon as practicable.

1893 – Grassy Island Range Lights, Detroit River, Michigan.— Congress, by act of August 5,1892, appropriated $1,500 for the establishment of range lights above Grassy Island, Detroit River, Michigan. The range line passes 350 feet outside and west of the contour of 18 feet depth, in the channel near the head of Fighting Island, and intersects the Mamajuda Range, as previously established, at a point immediately opposite Grassy Island Light-House. To avoid expensive sites on the land submarine sites for the beacons of this range were selected upon the river flats in front of Ecorse, Mich. Measures have been taken to obtain title and cession of jurisdiction to the United States.
The amount, $1,500, appropriated by the act above referred to is insufficient to build the kind of beacons needed at this place. Some expense was incurred necessarily in making a hydrographic survey of the river and in fixing the site where the beacons should be located. It is now found that an additional amount of $1,500 is needed to finish this work, and it is recommended that an appropriation of that amount be made for this purpose.

1894 – Grassy Island (Ecorse) range lights, Detroit River, Michigan.—The title to the site selected for the beacons of these lights was conveyed by the State of Michigan to the United States and the conveyance papers were approved by the U. S. Attorney-General. The pile foundations for the two beacons were constructed by hired labor and open-market purchases. Congress, by act of August 5, 1892, appropriated $1,500 for the establishment of range lights above Grassy Island, Detroit River, Michigan. The range indicated is, however, neither at nor very near Grassy Island, but is located in the water on the flats on the west side of Detroit River, in the township of Ecorse, about1 5/8 miles above Grassy Island. As other ranges are proposed for Grassy Island, this range is designated as the Ecorse range. The range line passes 350 feet outside and west of the contour of 18 feet depth in the channel near the head of Fighting Island, and intersects the Mamajuda range, as previously established, at a point immediately opposite Grassy Island light-house. To avoid expensive sites on the land, submarine sites for the beacons of this range were selected upon the river flats in front of Ecorse, Mich. Title to the sites and cession of jurisdiction were conveyed to the United States by the State of Michigan. The pile foundations and platforms for the beacons were constructed and the boundaries of the site were marked by piles driven in the bottom.
An appropriation of $1,500 was made in the sundry civil appropriation act approved August 18, 1894, “for completing the range lights above Grassy Island, Detroit River, Michigan.” The work will be completed at an early day.

1895 – Grassy Island (Ecorse) range lights, Detroit River, Michigan.—An additional appropriation of $1,500 for completing these range lights was made by the act approved August 18,1894. Two inclosed wooden beacons were built by a contract which required their completion by June 30, 1895. When the illuminating apparatus is put into the lanterns of the beacons, they will be ready for lighting. A riprap protection work of stone was placed around the foundations of the beacons. The lights of this range are located on the flats, in water about 3 ˝ feet deep, in front of a wide marsh. The nearest place where a keeper could reside is in the village of Ecorse, about three-fourths of a mile distant in a direct line. If he should live there it would be necessary to row fully a mile. This would be quite difficult at times, as the ice forms and remains in the shallow water while the main channel is open. The light-house reservation, which is 100 feet wide and about 700 feet long, is entirely submerged, and the bottom is so soft that a secure foundation can be had only upon piles protected with riprap stone. It is indispensable to the proper care of this station that the keeper live on its site. This can be made possible only by the erection here of a keeper's dwelling. It is estimated that a suitable one can be erected for $5,000 and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made therefor.

1896 – Ecorse Range lights (Grassy Island), Detroit River, Michigan.—These lights were first exhibited in September, 1895, from sixth-order lenses which had been transferred from the Maumee Middle Range discontinued light-station. A walk was built with a single hand rail between the two beacons. This walk was removed in the winter and replaced in the spring. Minor repairs were made. Space was engaged in a boathouse at Ecorse for the storage of the keeper’s boat. The lights were last lighted for the season of 1895 on December 20, and they burned until their oil was consumed. Owing to the running ice the keeper was unable after that date to reach the lights to extinguish or to relight them. The care of these lights, especially during the latter part of the season, is attended with great difficulties and considerable danger from floating ice and logs.
The following statement made in the Board’s last annual report is renewed:
The lights of this range are located on the flats, in water about 3 ˝ feet deep, in front of a wide marsh. The nearest place where a keeper could reside is in the village of Ecorse, about three-fourths of a mile distant in a direct line. If he should live there it would be necessary to row fully a mile. This would be quite difficult at times, as the ice forms and remains in the shallow water while the main channel is open. The light-house reservation, which is 100 feet wide and about 700 feet long, is entirely submerged, and the bottom is so soft that a secure foundation can be had only upon piles protected with riprap stone. It is indispensable to the proper care of this station that the keeper live on its site. This can be made possible only by the erection here of a keeper’s dwelling. It is estimated that a suitable one can be erected for $5,000, and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made therefor.

1897 – Ecorse Range lights (Grassy Island), Detroit River, Michigan.—An earth embankment was thrown up by a dredge connecting the two beacons of this range. The embankments, where decayed by ice and river currents, were repaired by cross piling secured with stakes and weighted with earth.
The following statement made in the Board's last two annual reports is renewed: The lights of this range are located on the flats, in water about 3 1/2 feet deep, in front of a wide marsh. The nearest place where a keeper could reside is in the village of Ecorse, about three-fourths of a mile distant in a direct line. If he should live there it would be necessary to row fully a mile. This would be quite difficult at times, as the ice forms and remains in the shallow water while the main channel is open. The light-house reservation, which is 100 feet wide and about 700 feet long, is entirely submerged, and the bottom is so soft that a secure foundation can be had only upon piles protected with riprap stone. It is indispensable to the proper care of this station that the keeper live on its site. This can be made possible only by the erection here of a keeper’s dwelling. It is estimated that a suitable one can be erected for $5,000, and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made therefor.

1898 – Ecorse, Detroit River, Michigan—Some 150 feet of sheet piling was driven on the north side, and 20 feet on the south side of the embankment extending from the front to the rear range beacons, to protect it against washing away.
The following statement made in the Board’s last three annual reports is renewed: The lights of this range are located on the flats, in water about 3 1/2 feet deep, in front of a wide marsh. The nearest place where a keeper could reside is in the village of Ecorse, about three-fourths of a mile distant in a direct line. If he should live there it would be necessary to row fully a mile. This would be quite difficult at times, as the ice forms and remains in the shallow water while the main channel is open. The light-house reservation, which is 100 feet wide and about 700 feet long, is entirely submerged, and the bottom is so soft that a secure foundation can be had only upon piles protected with riprap stone. It is indispensable to the proper care of this station that the keeper live on its site. This can be made possible only by the erection here of a keeper's dwelling. It is estimated that a suitable one can be erected for $5,000, and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made therefor.

1899 – Ecorse range, Detroit River, Michigan.—The embankment between the front and rear beacons of this range was riprapped with stone for a portion of its length on either side to protect it against washing away by wave action.
The following recommendation made in the Board’s last four annual reports is renewed: The lights of this range are located on the flats, in water about 3 ˝ feet deep, in front of a wide marsh. The nearest place where a keeper could reside is in the village of Ecorse, about three-fourths of a mile distant in a direct line. If he should live there it would be necessary to row fully a mile. This would be quite difficult at times, as the ice forms and remains in the shallow water while the main channel is open. The light-house reservation, which is 100 feet wide and about 700 feet long, is entirely submerged, and the bottom is so soft that a secure foundation can be had only upon piles protected with riprap stone. It is indispensable to the proper care of this station that the keeper live on its site. This can be made possible only by the erection here of a keeper’s dwelling. It is estimated that a suitable one can lie erected for $5,000, and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made therefor.

1900 – Ecorse range, Detroit River, Michigan.—About 15 tons of stone were placed upon the embankment between the range beacons to form a revetment to prevent the washing away of the earth.
The following recommendation made in the Board's last five annual reports is renewed: The lights of this range are located on the flats, in water about 3 ˝ feet deep, in front of a wide marsh. The nearest place where a keeper could reside is in the village of Ecorse about three-fourths of a mile distant in a direct line. If he should live there, it would be necessary to row fully a mile. This would be quite difficult at times, as the ice forms and remains in the shallow water while the main channel is open. The light-house reservation, which is 100 feet wide and about 700 feet long, is entirely submerged, and the bottom is so soft that a secure foundation can be had only upon piles protected with riprap stone. It is indispensable to the proper care of this station that the keeper live on its site. This can be made possible only by the erection here of a keeper's dwelling. It is estimated that a suitable one can be erected for $5,000, and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made therefor.

1901 – Ecorse range, Detroit River, Michigan.—The following recommendation, made in the Board’s last six annual reports, is renewed:
The lights of this range are located on the flats, in water about 3 ˝ feet deep, in front of a wide marsh. The nearest place where a keeper could reside is in the village of Ecorse, about three-fourths of a mile distant in a direct line. If he should live there, it would be necessary to row fully a mile. This would be quite difficult at times, as the ice forms and remains in the shallow water, while the main channel is open. The light-house reservation, which is 100 feet wide and about 700 feet long, is entirely submerged, and the bottom is so soft that a secure foundation can be had only upon piles protected with riprap stone. It is indispensable to the proper care of this station that the keeper live on its site. This can be made possible only by the erection here of a keeper’s dwelling. It is estimated that a suitable one can be erected for $5,000, and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made therefor.

1902 – Ecorse range, Detroit River, Michigan.—Some 60 cords of small riprap stone were placed on the slopes of the embankment between beacons and under the front beacon, to prevent washouts. By the act approved on June 28,1902, an appropriation of $5,000 was made for constructing a keeper’s dwelling here. This work will be done as soon as practicable.

1903 – Ecorse range, Detroit River, Michigan.—An appropriation was made by the act approved on June 28, 1902, for constructing a keeper’s dwelling. Plans were made and bids were invited and opened on May 30, 1903. Contract was made with the lowest bidder for doing this work.

1904 – Ecorse range, Detroit River, Michigan.—The keeper’s dwelling, for which $5,000 was appropriated by the act approved on June 28, 1902, was completed. About 100 cubic yards of earth was dredged and placed around the dwelling. About 100 running feet of walk, 2 feet wide, was built from the keeper’s dwelling. A boathouse was built on the westerly side of the embankment. On April 5 this sixth-order fixed red light, heretofore exhibited from a detached tower, was established, without change in location, in a square tower projecting from the southerly side of the keeper’s dwelling. The height of the focal plane of this light was thus increased to 314 feet above mean lake level. A square iron oil house was built on a concrete base. Various repairs were made.

1905 – Ecorse range, Detroit River, Michigan.—Some 271 tons of riprap were placed around the keeper’s dwelling, boathouse, and on the east side of the embankment between the dwelling and the rear beacon. Earth was filled in around the dwelling. A well was provided near the keeper’s dwelling. Various repairs were made.

1912 – The Ecorse Range rear light was changed to flashing red acetylene light of 750 candle power, showing one flash every three seconds. This new light is shown fifty feet above the water from a black skeleton steel tower, carrying a white horizontally-slatted oval day mark below the lantern. The Lighthouse Department advises that these lights will be changed from flashing to fixed lights.

1913 – The Ecorse Rear Range Light was changed on May 19, 1913, from a flashing to a fixed red light of about 70 candlepower, illuminant oil gas.

1916 – Ecorse Front Range Light—Intensity Increased. The intensity of Ecorse Front Range Light was increased on November 1, 1916, to 150 candlepower, with no other change.

1917 – Ecorse Range Lights. The range discontinued as such, the rear light discontinued, and the front light retained with designation changed to Ecorse Light.

1919 – Ecorse Light Station, Fighting Island Channel Ecorse Light Station Light was changed in characteristic on July 3, 1919, to show flashing white every 2 seconds, flash 6.5 second duration, of 580 candlepower.

1921 – Fighting Island Channel straightened. At Grosse Island an acetylene light in a fifth-order lens was installed in the old frame tower. At Mamajuda, Grassy Island, and Ecorse the old structures were removed and 200-millimeter acetylene lights established on 25-foot structural steel towers on steel tank houses with concrete foundations. The entire system is nonattended, but is under the observation of a keeper in the locality, whose duty it is to keep the aids in a serviceable condition. The work was begun in the fall of 1916 and completed June, 1921, at a cost of $24,916.16.

1922 – Tawas Light Station, moving dwelling from Ecorse Light Station, remodeling same, building walks and retaining walls, $9,121;

Keepers: August Gramer (1895 – 1898), Lucy Gramer (1898), August Gramer (1898 – 1906), Mary D. Gramer (1906), August Gramer (1906 – 1907), William Haynes (1907 – 1910), John Larock (1910 – 1912), Charles D. Northrup (1912 – at least 1917).


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