This Is The Last Remaining Lightship In Michigan From Its Time


Lightships serve as floating lighthouses, usually anchored in regions where building a permanent lighthouse is difficult or impracticable. Since the early nineteenth century, they have directed seamen along the coasts of the United States and other countries. However, with the advancement of contemporary technology, lightships have become obsolete, giving way to buoys, satellites, and radars.

The Huron, Lightship No. 103, was one of the last lightships to operate on the Great Lakes. It was built in 1920 specifically for Great Lakes operations and is the only surviving 96-foot lightship. The Huron, which operated at various stations on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, was decommissioned in 1970. It was then transferred to the City of Port Huron, where it now functions as a museum and historical site.

History of the Huron Lightship

The Huron was built by the Consolidated Shipbuilding Corporation in Morris Heights, New Jersey, for $147,428. Built between 1918 and 1920 to replace the old wooden lightships in the United States Lighthouse Service fleet, it was 96 feet long, 24 feet wide, and 9 feet deep. The Huron, which had 11 men on board, had a 375-horsepower diesel engine, a 12-inch steam whistle, a 1,000-watt electric lamp, and a fog horn.

Launched on May 1, 1920, the Huron underwent trials before being accepted by the United States Lighthouse Service on December 4, 1920. It was assigned to several locations in the upper Great Lakes to mark dangerous shoals and reefs. The Huron’s first station was North Manitou Shoal on Lake Michigan (1921-1934), followed by Grays Reef (1934-1935). Its final and longest station was Corsica Shoal on Lake Huron, where it operated from 1935 to 1970.

The Huron anchored near the shoal and used light and sound signals to alert oncoming vessels. It interacted with other ships via radio and semaphore, and reported weather and ice conditions to the Coast Guard. The crew faced terrible weather, isolation, and boredom, with a tender providing resupply and relieve every two weeks and yearly maintenance in a nearby port.

The Huron’s duty ended on August 20, 1970, and was replaced with a lighted buoy. It was the final lightship to operate on the Great Lakes and the second-to-last in the United States. Decommissioned at Detroit on August 25, 1970, it was given to the City of Port Huron on June 5, 1971. Moved to Pine Grove Park on August 29, 1972, it was dedicated as a historical monument and exhibit on October 4, 1974.

Huron Lightship Museum

The Huron Lightship Museum is operated by the Port Huron Museum and is open to the public from April to December. Visitors can visit the ship and learn about its history, equipment, and daily life onboard. The museum has displays, relics, and memorabilia linked to the Huron and other lightships. It is a state and national historic monument and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

The Huron Lightship Museum is a one-of-a-kind and invaluable attraction that preserves maritime heritage that is frequently forgotten. The Huron, the last extant lightship in Michigan at the time, highlights the critical role lightships played in safeguarding the Great Lakes’ safety and commerce. It is a tribute to the bravery and dedication of the men who served on these ships. For those interested in lighthouses, ships, or history, the Huron Lightship Museum is a must-see.

Read More: This Town Was Named The Most Depressed City In West Virginia

In Summary

To summarize, lightships, which served as floating lighthouses, played an important role in marine safety, especially in areas where permanent lighthouses were unfeasible. The Huron, Lightship No. 103, is a notable historical artifact that represents the end of an era for Great Lakes lightships. Despite becoming outdated owing to technological improvements, the Huron’s legacy has been maintained by its adaptation into the Huron Lightship Museum. The museum, which is open to the public, not only displays the ship’s history and equipment, but also pays respect to the brave men who committed their lives to ensuring the Great Lakes’ safety and commerce. The Huron Lightship Museum is a one-of-a-kind and vital site that reminds visitors of their maritime past, which is sometimes ignored in the face of technological improvements.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.