Rock of Ages Light, west of Washington Island and Isle Royale, Eagle Harbor Township, Keweenaw County, Michigan
Built in 1908.
ROCK OF AGES LIGHT
OFF ISLE ROYALE, LAKE SUPERIOR, MICHIGAN
Station Established: 1908
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1908
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE PIER/STEEL CAISSON
Construction Materials: STEEL/MASONRY/CONCRETE
Tower Shape: CYLINDRICAL “BOTTLE SHAPE”
Markings/Pattern: WHITE WITH BLACK BASE AND LANTERN
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: SECOND ORDER FRESNEL
Rock of Ages is situated two and a half miles west of the Isle Royale and is literally a strip of rock. Due to the location of the rock a base station was established in Washington Harbor. Using a lighthouse tender, Amaranth, loaded with cement and stones, the concrete base was poured. When the tower arose from the rocky base, it was capped with a temporary third order Fresnel lens with a fixed red light. The tower was eight stories in height with accommodations for four keepers.
A permanent second order Fresnel lens was installed and lit on September 15, 1910. On a foggy May 27, 1933 the SS George M. Cox ran into the reef. The keepers of Rock of Ages rescued all 125 crew aboard the ship and they all spent the night in the light, sleeping wherever they could find the room until the Coast Guard was able to retrieve them the following day.
The lighthouse was automated in 1978. In 1985 the Fresnel lens was removed and replaced with a modern optic. The lens is on display at the Windingo Information Station in the Isle Royale National Park. The light station is park of the Isle Royale National Park but is not open to the public. It remains an active aid to navigation.
Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.