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family of four with mom and dad plus two children, a boy and a girl, sitting on the edge of the rocky shoreline at Marblehead Lighthouse State Park in front of Marblehead Lighthouse at Lake Erie in Ohio

Visit Ohio's Marblehead Lighthouse

Shine a light on the Great Lake's oldest lighthouse.

Marblehead Lighthouse on Lake Erie

Visit Ohio's Marblehead Lighthouse

By Paola Santiago

Posted On: Jun 21, 2022

This year marks the 200-year celebration of the historic Marblehead Lighthouse. The oldest lighthouse in Ohio has been lighting the way for guests to come and enjoy sine it was finalized in 1821. Learn more about this historic site that was officially lit on June 22, 1822. 

side view from the water of marblehead lighhouse on lake erie in Ohio

Find It Here

East of Toledo and west of Cleveland lies a popular detour from the Lake Erie Coast Ohio Trial, the 13.5-acre Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. The picturesque Marblehead Lighthouse sits at the edge of Marblehead Peninsula on Lake Erie. Summertime buzzes with warmer weather bringing picnickers, shore fishers, and the 20,000 guests who embark to climb the 77 steps to reach the top of the tower each year.  

marblhead lightouse at lake erie in ohio
Photo credit: Richard Gregurich

History and Culture

First lit in 1822, the Great Lakes' oldest lighthouse  became the first female-operated Great Lake Lighthouse in 1832 with Rachel Wolcott.* The astonishing tower is built from local quarried limestone and clay bricks. Originally it stood 50 feet tall and lighthouse keepers tended 13 wick lamps fueled with whale oil.

Over the years, new improvements included creating a two-story keepers' home beside the tower in 1880, adding a Fresnel lens in 1858, raising the tower to 65 feet in 1897, and electrifying the glowing beacon in 1923. And in 1958, The Coast Guard automated the light.

The Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society formed in 1998, when the state assumed ownership of the light. The group opened a museum at the keepers' home in 2000.

*After the first lightkeeper and her late husband, Benejah Wolcott.

family of four sitting in front of marblehead lighthouse at lake erie in ohio

Things To Do

Bring your fav Made in Ohio snacks along and bask in the breathtaking sights  from the lovely picnic tables at the State Park. For even better view, visitors can get a look at the nearby Lake Erie landmarks from coin-operated binoculars. Or channel that inner history buff and stop by the replica lifesaving station. While you're there, imagine what it may have been like to rescue boats and sailors.

A must-do are the tours offered from Summer to Fall. The schedule varies, so call or visit their website to check what times are available.

Fun Facts

If you look close, visitors might be able to see Cedar Point. And on an even clearer day, Cleveland! Marblehead Lighthouse is also one of the most photographed landmarks in Ohio, so don't forget to snap a picture before you leave! This iconic attraction was even featured in the 2010 music video "Vanilla Twilight" by Owl City (you can spot Marblehead Lighthouse and its distinctive green beacon throughout the video). 

When you visit Marblehead Lighthouse, enjoy the scenic views of Lake Erie and the cool breeze, as this 200-year-old landmark continues to light the way to Ohio's shores.  

For more historical attractions and ways to explore the Shores & Islands Inviting Region of Ohio, check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org

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