Digest>Archives> August 2003

Another Step into History at Old Michigan City Light

By Charlotte Graham


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Members of the Hoosier Lighthousing Club lifting ...
Photo by: Paul L. Brady

Thanks to the efforts of the Hoosier Lighthousing Club, the Old Michigan City Lighthouse in Michigan City, Indiana, has a beautiful new spiral staircase. The staircase was purchased and installed by the group to allow visitors to climb to the lantern room for the first time in history. Previously, there was only a rickety old ladder that led to the lantern room.

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The volunteers that worked on the new stairs at ...
Photo by: Paul L. Brady

Since the Hoosier Lighthousing Club adopted the lighthouse they have performed various tasks to improve the grounds at the historic beacon. They have planted flowers, cleaned buildings, and repaired outside structures.

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Mrs. June Jaques director of the Old Michigan ...
Photo by: Paul L. Brady

But the staircase was their biggest project so far, and was no easy task. Members diligently worked in the attic of the lighthouse in preparation of installing the new spiral staircase. The remains of an old chimney were removed brick by brick, and a new sub floor was then installed to secure the pole for the stairs. Entering the seventeen-foot main pole for the structure up into the third floor attic was no small task. The pole had to be hoisted up through a small attic window very slowly and very so carefully. A larger opening then had to be carefully cut into the roof rafters, and the Lantern Room floor, so the project could be assembled, thus required substantial planning for an appropriate and secure installation. The floor of the Lantern Room also had to be reinforced for safety.

It took some of the members’ additional weekends working at the lighthouse to complete this phase of the project.

After completion, the fourteen steps that ascend up into the Lantern Room were offered for sale to members of the Club. Each wooden step will then have a brass nameplate, with the name of the member who purchased the step. The proceeds collected from this sale will then go to the second phase of the project, which is to complete the room surrounding the stairs so that it then fits into the historical aspect of the lighthouse.

A ribbon cutting dedication for the new spiral stairs was held on June 8. This date also marked the 30th Anniversary of the Historical Club Opening the Old Lighthouse Museum.

Mrs. June Jaques director, and Mr. Bill Younger founder of Harbour Lights held the honor of cutting the ribbon. It had been a dream of Mrs. Jaques for many years to be able to climb to the top of the lighthouse into the Lantern Room. On this day her dream came true, and she was given the honor of being the first person to climb the stairs to the Lantern Room, which she did with great pride.

Following the ribbon cutting, the docents and the Historical Society furnished a beautiful cake with a picture of the lighthouse on the top.

The Hoosier Lighthousing Club is to be commended for the excellent job they have done at the Old Michigan Lighthouse. For information on the Hoosier Lighthousing Club contact Paul L. Brady at WackoPaul@bvimpact.com.

For information or to plan a visit to the lighthouse contact the museum at 219-872-6133. The museum at the lighthouse is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am to 4pm and is closed on Mondays.

This story appeared in the August 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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