ERIE, Pa. (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — One of Erie’s most historic sites rests along the beaches of Presque Isle.
The Presque Isle Lighthouse has acted as a beacon of light since its completion in 1873.
While the park celebrates 100 years, the lighthouse is celebrating 148 years on the peninsula.
Our own Jill McCormick has this week’s report.
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Sitting majestically near Beach 9, the Presque Isle Lighthouse is ready to welcome visitors again this season.
“We want everyone to come down here, we wanted this to be a community resource. It’s important to us that it is open to the public, that is why we’re so excited this year, with all the safety restrictions in place, we are able to open it back up to the public,” Emily Butler, executive director, Presque Isle Light Station said.
Public access is fairly new. Up until 2014, lighthouse keepers, Coast Guard and Park Rangers lived in the lighthouse.
Electricity was put in in 1924, and the road to the lighthouse didn’t go in until 1927.
“The peninsula then was very wild. There were no roads, access to even construct this was extremely difficult,” Butler said.
While the Presque Isle Lighthouse still operates as a functioning lighthouse, it also serves as a beacon of light shining on Erie’s maritime history.
“They really speak to the history of Erie as a port city. They speak to its maritime history. They’re absolutely beautiful structures, just architecturally in general… they’re gorgeous,” Butler said.
Maintaining this beautiful structure is no easy task as the Presque Isle Light Station Group is working to bring it back to its glory.
“When you walk inside the lighthouse, you will be able to experience what it looked like, what it felt like to be inside this home during his time here,” Butler said.
That time is the 1920s when Andrew Shaw was the lighthouse keeper.
Shaw served in that role from 1901 to 1927. He retired when the road went in and he said too many people tried to visit.
Since the lighthouse will be open again this summer to the public, staff here hopes that you’ll take a hike up to the top of the lighthouse or maybe even volunteer.
“Our volunteers are very important and we’re always accepting new volunteers,” Butler said.
If you can’t volunteer, you can help by becoming a member, helping to ensure the lighthouse will continue to shine for another 100 years.