Photographer: Roy B. Westin

Detroit River Light

Detroit River, MI

Built :  1885

Construction :  Conical, cast iron

Status : Active

Location : Northwestern lake Erie and Southern end of the Detroit River.

Height : 49 feet

Access : Boat

Left / Above - Photographer: Keith W. Churill (3-18-01)

Lighthouse History : Completed in 1885, this light was constructed near the Bar Point Shoal on Lake Erie just outside the entrance to the Detroit River. Many vessels had run aground here, prior to the lights construction, as they made their turn to enter the river. A Canadian Lightship was stationed here in 1875 but problems continued due to confusion of lights between other vessels and both the Canadian and U.S. shorelines.

 Congress appropriated a total of $78,000 for construction of this light. Captain C.E.L.B. Davis of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers designed and supervised the entire program. A timber crib foundation was constructed in Amherstburg, Ont. measuring 45 feet wide by 18 feet high. On July 3, 1884 it was towed to the site and sank in 22 feet of water and filled with concrete. A pier of cut stone was then constructed measuring 90 feet by 43 feet by 15 feet high. The pier rests 4 feet below the water surface. The pier was completed in November and settled 1 1/2 feet out of level. To level the pier, 550 tons of loose rubble was loaded on primarily the high side prior to stopping for the winter.

The pier had then settled correctly allowing the light tower and fog signal building to be completed. The cast iron conical tower is 49 feet tall with a 22 feet diameter base tapering to 18 feet in diameter. Atop the round watch room stands a ten sided cast iron lantern room.

In 1907, characteristics of the light exhibited here were was fixed for 30 seconds followed by 6 flashes at 5 second intervals. This was produced by a single 180 fixed panel and Six 30 bull's-eye panels with the light rotating at 1 revolution per minute. The current lens now consists of six 60 panels and three bull's-eye panels with a 60 blind panel between each.


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