Vermilion Lights
By Al Hart

In 1847 $3,000 was appropriated by an Act of Congress to build a lighthouse on the west pier of the Vermilion harbor entrance. This light was severely damaged in an 1854 spring storm and was rebuilt in 1859. After many repairs over the next 18 years, it was replaced in 1877.

The 1877 Vermilion Light was also located on the west pier. It had a 400-foot catwalk, a narrow pier and was45-feet high. Painted red and white, the octagonal shaped light tower contained a Fifth Order Fresnel lens. Structural damage caused the light tower to lean toward the harbor, eventually falling into the river. As a result, in 1929 it was dismantled and replaced with an 18-foot skeletal steel tower.

The question remained as to the final destiny of the original lighthouse. Year later it was discovered at Charity Shoal at the entrance to the St. Lawrence in the east end of Lake Ontario.

In 1992, a replica lighthouse was constructed on the lakefront in front of the Great Lakes Historical Society.

The historical photographs and text are displayed courtesy of the Great Lakes Historical Society, Vermilion, Ohio. They were taken from the Society's 2003 Calendar and were edited by Al Hart. Image may not be reproduced with the expressed permission of GLHS.

Click on images to enlarge

1859 Rebuild

Click on images to enlarge

1877 Light

Click on images to enlarge

1992 Replica
Photograph by Dave Wobser

2011 water view
Janet Wobser

Location: At the foot of Main Street in Vermilion, Ohio on the grounds of the Great Lakes Historical Society.
Date Built: See Text

Open to



Return to Lighthouses of the Great Lakes Lake Erie Index