In observance with National Lighthouse Day, members of Erie Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle Light Station Corporation held a ceremony this past August to place a U.S. Lighthouse Service Memorial Keeper Marker at the gravesite of Frank S. Huntington, who was the keeper of the lighthouse from 1927 to 1944.
Frank Huntington was transferred to the Presque Isle Lighthouse from the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse in Fairport, Ohio in 1927 when the Presque Isle keeper Andrew W. Shaw, Jr. abruptly quit in March of 1927. Andrew Shaw Jr. had been the keeper at Presque Isle for 26 years and liked the isolation of the lighthouse, but after a new road was built to the lighthouse that brought too many people, he decided that it was time to retire, saying that the new road “brought to many blasted people to the lighthouse.”
Such was not the case for Frank Huntington and his wife Ruth who, while raising five children at the lighthouse, seemed to enjoy the people who came to view the lighthouse.
From reading the log books during Frank Huntington’s tenure, lighthouse life was filled with good times and rough times. The new road that the previous keeper complained about was not always usable during the winter months. It was often closed, keeping the kids home from school, and at other times caused the keeper’s car to get stuck or go off the road. But by 1929 a new and better road was completed.
The Huntington family was often visited by the keepers and their families of other lighthouses, mostly from Ohio. Even former keeper Shaw came back for return visits. There was also sadness, especially when Raymond Gilbert, the son of his good friend Arthur Gilbert, keeper of the Erie Pierhead Lighthouse, was killed in an automobile accident in 1931.
Probably one of the happiest and most important family events to happen at the lighthouse occurred on July 7, 1932 when Frank Huntington’s sons, Stanley and Donald, married sisters Florence and Edna Fowler. That must have been quite an event.
Frank Huntington kept the station in good running order, so good in fact that during one period of time he received the Inspector’s Star for five straight years. But modernization came to the lighthouse and in 1944 Frank Huntington left the lighthouse forever. Three years later, Frank S. Huntington passed away and was buried at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Erie, Pennsylvania.
This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 2017 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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