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Cleveland East Entrance Lighthouse

Set on the southern shore of Lake Erie at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, Cleveland early on became an important port in the Great Lakes region. In the early 1830's, as Cleveland's waterways were attracting an ever-increasing number of vessels for industry and transportation, the city erected its first light station. But because Lake Erie is relatively shallow and storms can quickly stir up huge and violent waves, the city eventually added a 700-foot long breakwater to protect its inner harbor.

To help vessels safely navigate between the breakwater arms and the piers, additional lights were placed at each end of the breakwater. The original light at the east entrance to Cleveland Harbor, a small skeleton tower topped by a square room, was built in 1915. Its red beacon helped guide ships into the eastern part of the harbor.

After several decades, it was replaced by a modern D9 steel tower, like other pierhead lights on the Great Lakes. The current cylindrical 47-foot tower is white with a distinctive red band in the middle. It also has a red light that flashes three seconds on, three seconds off, and is still an active aid to navigation. Because the breakwater is not attached to the shore, the light is accessible by boat only.

Established: 1915
Status: Active
Location: At the east end of the long breakwater forming the Cleveland harbor.


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