Saturday, April 4, 2020

Grosse Point Lighthouse - A Light of Hope for the Future

By Pamela S. Meyers

While researching for one of my novels, I came across a beautiful lighthouse that isn't located very far from me on Lake Michigan. As I write this, nearly the entire U.S. is on shelter-in-place orders due to COVID19. However, as soon as the restrictions are lifted and it's safe to be out and about, I plan to visit Grosse Point Lighthouse in Evanston, IL.

The lighthouse has a unique history having been constructed in 1872 at about the same time as the City of Chicago, a short distance to the south, was recovering from the effects of the Great Chicago Fire. 

As the U.S. population moved westward, Chicago's lakefront became a primary port for schooners and other vessels to deliver their cargo for transport inland. 

Lady Elgin Public Domain
As ships approached Chicago's port from the north, they were unaware of shallow spots in the water just off Grosse Point that are called shoals and many ships went aground. One of the worst instances was in 1860 when a steamship called the Lady Elgin sank and an estimated 300 lives were lost.

The U.S. Government began construction of the lighthouse in 1872 and it was completed in 1873, but the light wasn't installed and lit until March of 1874. On a clear night, the beam could be seen from 21 miles away. It warned of the shallow water and guided arriving ships around Grosse Point and toward the Port of Chicago. In 1934, a photoelectric device provided a means to automatically turn the light on at night and a light keeper was no longer required to live there. In 1935, the site became the responsibility of the Lighthouse Park District. 

The lighthouse is, which is now a national landmark, open for tours and inspection on weekends during the summer months. Evanston is located a short distance north of the city of Chicago and is easily accessed by public transportation or car. 

To read a detailed history and more details about the lighthouse, go to,  

Sources in addition to the website include:
Color photos used by permission by Sam Padron

Pamela S. Meyers writes her historical fiction stories set in her home state of Wisconsin from her cozy condo in northern IL that she shares with her two rescue cats. She is currently writing the fourth book in her series set in her home town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a short drive north of her home.  


  1. So the sign about the tract of land is where the lighthouse sits? It looks like a nice place to visit! Thanks for posting.

    1. Connie, it would seem that the sign is on the tract of land the lighthouse sits on. I haven't been there myself yet, but the person who took the pictures he posted on Facebook at the time of his visit there includes it in his collection.

  2. I love light houses! Thanks for the interesting post about this one.

    1. My pleasure, Martha! I'm glad you enjoyed hearing about this one!