Researching Michigan lighthouse histories and finding why and how they came to be and their peculiarities is part of the fun in painting them, especially lights that are not there anymore. So here is the mysteries of the Monroe Breakwater lights.-
The first painting was done from an old photo in the SOM library archives in Lansing, MI. The old 1859 light was a wooden structure on the end of a breakwater in the Detroit River. The light is only a lantern sitting on a pedestal in a bird cage style top. As you can see the keeper augmented his rations by fishing. The light is no longer in existence and I could not find a written record.
The next mystery- this sketch of the 1889 larger Monroe Breakwater Light done from a photo on www.lighthousedigest.com. Monroe was a booming commercial shipping harbor in 1890-1940. The area was a summer resort with a mini-Grand Hotel and amusement park with large Ferris wheel- a Detroit summer vacation spot. This light had a charismatic keeper that welcomed visitors that took small tour boats to visit the light. I could not find any articles or photos online, the Monroe museum or old newspaper articles about the resort or lights. When the entrance to the harbor was moved 10 miles north all commerce went away. In articles, it seems that the light was scrapped for lumber in the mid-1940’s from an old salvage receipt. So if you have heard any family stories about grandparents vacationing in Monroe I would love to hear them. Hope you enjoy the Monroe Mystery.
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.