Captain John's Custom Photos & Framing

Michigan Lighthouses - Detroit River Light, Mouth of the Detroit River, Lake Erie

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Watercolor Print
Accented Print
Color Photograph
Watercolor Print
Color Photograph
Color Photograph

Built in 1885 at a cost of $78,000 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this three-story steel-sided tower sits on a six-sided, elongated stone and cement foundation in Lake Erie at the entrance to the Detroit River. The Detroit River Light replaced a Canadian lightship that had served since 1875. The attached building houses a fog signal. The light is still active and is only visible by boat.

The 49-feet high cast iron plate tower is 22-feet in diameter at the base and 18-feet at the top. It was built on a pre-fabricated 45' x 18', crib that was transported to the site from Amherstburg, Ontario, sunk in 22-feet of water, filled with concrete and surrounded by a granite pier.

The light station pier has the appearance of a vessel, with the pointed end directed toward the mouth of the river to break ice flows coming down river.

The construction of the station was tested in December 1997 when the Buffalo, a 635-foot lake freighter, struck the station while sailing downriver for Lake Erie. Damage to the station was minimal involving only the structure's rock and stone foundation. The Buffalo faired much worse; the station's stone pier tore a gash across the bow of the freighter and began to take on water. The damaged freighter was able to control the flooding and continued on for repairs.

The lens has been changed several times to change the characteristics. The present lens has six panels of 60 degrees, with three bull's-eye panels each separated from the other by a 60 degree blind panel.

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