Saving Stannard Rock
Posted on: May 14, 2018
Stannard Rock Lighthouse illustration from the Annual Report of the U.S. Light-House Board, 1882, frontispiece. Frederick Gutekunst – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID ppmsca.09353.

The Stannard Rock Lighthouse was first lit up on July 4, 1882. Nearly 40km (25 miles) from the nearest land, this offshore Lighthouse was a feat of engineering and construction. It was built to mark the location of a rocky shoal discovered by Captain Charles C. Stannard in 1835.

Stannard Rock Lighthouse is reflected in calm Lake Superior waters. Archival Photo by Mr. Steve Nicklas, NOS/NGS/RSD from “Lighthouses and Lightships of the United States” by George R. Putnam, 1917.

In 2015, the Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust (SWP) acquired Stannard Rock Lighthouse from the U.S. federal government for preservation, thanks to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. On Tuesday, May 8, SWP held a public presentation in Marquette, Michigan outlining the history of this unique lighthouse to garner interest and promote financial contributions for it’s repair.

As the most isolated lighthouse in the U.S., Stannard Rock Lighthouse has taken a beating. On June 19, 1961, the lighthouse engine exploded, stranding three of four surviving coast guardsmen for three days and destroying the fog house. From that day on, the lighthouse operation was automated. It is now host to an National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather station and multiple research buoys. During a storm in October last year, the weather station and buoys around the lighthouse measured extremely high winds and waves. These buoys have made the Stannard Rock Lighthouse an important site for climate change research and predicting water levels on the Great Lakes.

The lighthouse needs more than a million dollars of restoration but the Superior Watershed Partnership has plans to make these repairs over an extended period of time through the employment of young adults in the SWP Great Lakes Conservation Corps. For more inforamation on the SWPs Stannard Rock Lighthouse project click here.

U.S. Coast Guard image of Stannard Rock Lighthouse Unknown Date.









Check out this article by maritime historian and author Frederick Stonehouse for more images and legends from Stannard Rock Lighthouse.


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