July 10-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: July: July 10-06
Gull Rock Lighthouse    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
Roof shot    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 06:43 am:

E. Neil Harri never ceases to amaze me with interesting shots of the Keweenaw. Today, we zip over the Gull Rock lighthouse as he zooms in for an overhead shot. This beacon is in such a remote setting, that it's almost inaccessible. Located on a rock outcropping in the open waters of Lake Superior, it's off the tip of the Keweenaw and adjacent to Mantiou Island. Constructed in 1867 and automated in 1913, it remains as an active aid for boats to navigate their way around the island, but it's sorely in need of repairs. The second floor has rotted and fallen down into the first floor, which in turn has collapsed down into the basement of the building, all due to a large hole that was recently repaired. Much more work is needed and the Gull Rock Lightkeepers are in the process of raising funds to have the roof replaced next summer. There are also pictures of the damage that has already been sustained. The site also has raffle tickets (on sale through August 12) for a VIP tour of the lighthouse (to be taken in summer 2007).

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 07:02 am:

AWWWW, Beacons!

By JanieT (Bobbysgirl) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 07:50 am:

The pics of the damage is so sad to look at, gives the word damage a whole new meaning.

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 07:52 am:

Went on the sunset cruise out of Copper Harbor one year and we went to Gull Rock. Really amazing. Another time we went, we took a different course because of the weather. If anything is needed that light is!

It's tragic that it is in such disrepair.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 07:58 am:

Definitely not the place to be when a storm kicks up!!! I was out on a fishing trip (great fishing spot btw...) long time ago and all I remember was the waves were breaking OVER the outcrop. Scarey indeed, but obviously we made it back ok.....

By Brent in UPstate NY (Brent) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 08:14 am:

I like my beacons with a couple of eggs and a side of hash browns. :)

By paul (Pungvait) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 09:39 am:

Brent - that's TERRIBLE - thank you

By Ryan James Byykkonen (Rbyykkonen) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 09:50 am:

Haven't been there in a long time!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 11:02 am:


By Richard A. Fields (Cherokeeyooper) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 11:59 am:

Does anyone know what those long blocks are? Perhaps a fence? Perhaps an old foundation? I can't tell in these pictures, but am interested. I imagine that working at this lighthouse back in the old days must have been arduous at best. Thanks for sharing it.

By JohnS (Jksturos) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 12:59 pm:

Looks like an outhouse behind the lighthouse...interesting.
Nice photos!

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 03:00 pm:

If I had to guess Richard, I'd say they are what's left of the retaining wall that keeps the waves from directly striking the building during storms.

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 06:39 pm:

that small out building is where the kids wait for the schoolboat in bad weather.

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 07:32 pm:

Imagine what it was like to be the Keeper when it was manned! There had to have been some very long lonely winters out there. If the guy was alone, I suspect he got to be a little strange. If he was there with wife and family -- well Stephen King's THE SHINING comes to mind. No wonder they automated it so early.

By Danny cunningham (Uporbust) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 11:02 pm:

Considering it's age and the lack of atention and the fact that it has taken a beating from Lake Superior it is still standing after all these years.
It is a great testiment to the men that built it!

By Jeremiah Mason (Keweenawdude) on Monday, July 10, 2006 - 11:41 pm:

My great-great grand-father and -mother (and his father before him, and a number of descendents) kept light at a number of lights on the Keweenaw including Gull Rock. They were stationed at Gull Rock from 1877 to 1883.

You can find more information about the Gull Rock lighthouse at Terry Pepper's superb site, "Seeing the Light," which has information about lighthouses of the western Great Lakes. The Gull Rock page can be found here: http://www.terrypepper.com/lights/superior/gull-rock/index.htm.
It has a wealth of information, as well as additional photos.

I'm extremely grateful to Peter Annin and his associates for their work trying to preserve the lighthouse - I can't wait to get involved somehow!

Also, I was thinking perhaps the small structure that looks like an outhouse may have been a fuel storage building - ? Other light stations have almost identical buildings on the grounds that were used as such - though perhaps owing to the extreme conditions on 'the rock,' the oil-house design was adapted for use as a privy - ??

By Sheri (Sheri) on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 07:56 am:


You must be connected to the Corgans. I recently had a genealogy request from someone and as I was searching for information about them found out the Corgans long, long history in lighthouses. James Corgan ended up in Ontonagon after Gull Rock and was here until he died in 1923. Fascinating history of our area and its lighthouses.

By John Preisler (Jpreisler) on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 08:00 am:

its an outhouse. an oil storage building would be more substantial
with a steel door and a vent on the roof.

at least from gull rock you can see both the keweenaw and manitou

stannard's rock sets the standard for 'remote'

By J.T. Toivola (Joyce) on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 12:30 pm:

I like the schoolboat idea-"C'mon,kids! Run into the shack and watch for the boat. Don't dawdle! Stay dry! Don't get on the driver's nerves!" (Our kids had to ride in the School Scout on bad days)
We were holy wuh-ing over this small rock,trying to imagine how the keepers maintained any level of sanity, when our daughter appeared with "Haunted Lakes",by Frederick Stonehouse. Stannard Rock Light is known as one of the lonliest places, farthest from land of any lighthouse in America,32 miles NE of Big Bay Point. I wonder how many ghost ships have been spotted from this location!

By Peter Annin (Gullrock) on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - 11:27 pm:

Thanks to all of you for your interest in Gull Rock. And thanks to
E. Neil Harri for his outstanding aerial photos. (One of the
photos shows a temporary roof patch we added in May--it is the
small light brown rectangle on the roof near the lantern room.)
Most of the "long blocks" referred to in postings above are
sections of the old cement walkways that were laid on Gull Rock.
(Although sections of the seawall are visible as well.) The old
walkways have been broken up by waves and ice over time. The
out building is definitely a privy. It used to be connected to the
keeper's dwelling with an elevated walkway. We have a lot of
hard work ahead, so thanks to all of you for your interest and
Peter Annin
Executive Director
Gull Rock Lightkeepers

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