Guiding Light

Vacation!  New sights!  Water!

Not every vacation involves large bodies of water, but this year I visited along the shore of a great inland sea – Lake Michigan.

One item grabbed my attention and demanded a visit. A visit to one of the many lighthouses that have guided shipping, fishermen, and recreational boaters for decades.

I studied the literature, found one accessible by auto, and shared the news when the words “tours available daily” appeared at the end of a paragraph.

Perched on a bluff within a current State Park the lighthouse and grounds are well kept and managed. Late on a pleasant morning we began our tour outside, moved in to the small portion of the house build first to house the construction workers for the main living area and the light tower. Built in 1868, the house has never received the modern conviences of electricity or indoor plumbing.

Sturdy to withstand the wind and weather. Isolated for function. The house is furnished much as it was when a family raising seven sons lived in it. Their father was the second resident light keeper. The youngest son, still living when the house attached to the now automated light restoration began, furnished much information and some precious family items.

Water – for drinking, washing, and farm animals – came from the lake.  Not by means of pipe and pump. No, by young man power up steep wooden steps along the bluff. Imagine a wooden yoke, a bucked of water on each side, and a slow climb up wet, icy steps in a Midwest winter.

Free from that chore the tourist enjoys a peek at life more than a century ago.  A chimmney at 45 degrees to the roofline to better accomodate four wood burning stoves – one on the second floor. Metal spiral stairs with an exit to second floor bedrooms before they continue to the actual light. Kitchen utensils, musical instruments, and books of an American family.

And what a view!

House and Light
The View

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