I could not resist painting “Wash Day” on Menagerie Island. We forget that the families that lived in the lights had to wash clothes and tend to every day chores. This backyard was a little different than most. The light was built in 1875 of native sandstone, the tower was 61’ tall with a 4th order Fresnel Len attached to a two story house by a 12’ long entry way. John Malone, a bachelor was made head keeper, but he was single and told to find a bride. He did find a 19 year old young lady and they married and had 12 children during their stay. The family could only raise radishes and lettuce on the island, but had a garden on nearby Wright Island. Records show that seagull eggs played an important part of their diet totaling almost 1,500 a year. The keepers and assistants stayed on the island May-November. They wintered in Duluth, MN. The island was automated in 1913. The island is part of Isle Royale National Park. For more information go to www.lighthousefriends.com and for cards or prints go to www.michiganlighthouseart.com
Due to increased shipments of lumber from the port, the river mouth was widen and a light to mark it’s entrance was needed. The Cheboygan Crib Light’s 4th order Fresnel lens was lit in November 1884 at the entrance to the Cheboygan River. The tower is 33’ tall and the light could be seen 13 miles out into Lake Huron. In 1897, an assistant keeper was added to the Cheboygan River range lights and the two keepers were responsible for the assistant who stayed at the Crib at night in a small 2 room dwelling built for him.
In 1910, a 1200 pound fog bell was hung from a skeletal tower on the northwest corner. The bell weight had to be wound every 2 1/2 hours so the Stryker toll the bell at ten second intervals. The light was automated in the 1920. The crib and tower developed a definite lean. It was decided to remove the crib light to the foot of the pier in a lovely city park. The Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper’s Association, in 2001, provided the labor and the City the materials to restore the Crib light to a sparkling white with red trim. This light is very accessible by car. Take time to enjoy the park and then visit the range lights nearby.
Michigan Artist, Anita Saviko, Her goal is to research the histories and paint all Michigan lighthouses/range lights past and present, a total of spprox. 150 lights.