Conneaut Lighthouse History
1935 - Present

In 1935, the new Conneaut West Breakwater Lighthouse and submarine cable were delivered and the equipment assembled.  The 1,670 foot section shore arm of the west breakwater (shore to gap), begun in 1934, was completed.  The 865 foot lakeward extension of the west breakwater (last section to lighthouse), begun in 1934, was completed.

In 1936, the 925 foot lakeward extention of the east breakwater, begun in 1934, was completed.  On April 1, the new Conneaut West Breakwater Lighthouse was established on the end of the west breakwater where it stands today. The1920 Conneaut Harbor Lighthouse was demolished using dynamite.

At a cost of $70,000, the 1936 lighthouse was built by F. P. Dillon and W. G. Will. A reflection of the artistic style of the 1930’s, the Art Deco light consists of a square, cylindrical tower on a square fog building. It stands 60 feet high and is made of white steel plates on a concrete foundation. Upon completion, the 11,000-candlepower light source atop the shaft produced a beam that could be seen seventeen miles out into Lake Erie. The tower also housed a diaphone type fog horn (listen in RAM or WAV format) that would blast air through a 3.5 inch pipe and metal vibrator. The resulting sound could be heard from about fifteen miles. Its “sister” lighthouse was built by Dillon and Will that same year at Huron, approximately 120 miles southwest. In its early years, the lighthouse was controlled remotely from a shore house by a keeper and two assistants. As ice prohibited travel on the lakes during the winter, the light was inactive from December 25 to March 1. During this break, the keepers would alternate taking vacations. In 1949, the Harbor Street keepers quarters were expanded and a control bldg was added. Originally painted white, the lighthouse tower was later given a horizontal black band as a daymark in 1965.

The 1941 chart below shows the east and west breakwater changes, the municipal pier, intake pipe and crib which were built from 1934 to 1936 by Merritt, Chapman & Whitney Co.

An 1,187 foot eastern shorearm was added in 1964 to protect the harbor. The below drawing shows the harbor as it looks today with the Eastern shorearm indicated in red.

Automated in 1972, the lantern room of the current lighthouse was removed and replaced with a 375 MM beacon. The light still operates as an active aid to navigation with the West breakwater light exhibiting an alternating white and red beacon on 6 second intervals. It has a lens focal plane of 80 feet above lake level and a visibility range of 16 miles. The West breakwater light also has a fog signal producing a 2 second blast every 30 seconds. The end of the East breakwater also has a Pier light marking the entrance to the harbor. This smaller Pier light exhibits a green beacon on 4 second intervals at a lens focal plane of 46 feet above lake level and a visibility range of 7 miles.

The photo below shows the lighthouse as it looks today.