Cheboygan Crib Light with Northern Lights
December 4, 2012
Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light says that the plan for the Cheboygan Crib Light that was drawn-up by the District Engineer called for a round crib with an octagonal cast iron pierhead beacon centered upon it.
Work began with the construction of a wooden crib onshore in Cheboygan, which was then lowered into the water and towed out to the specified location at the entrance to the dredged river channel. Sunk in place with the addition of crushed rock, an upper level consisting of oak timber framework was then constructed atop the crib, with a basement oil storage room beneath the location in which the tower was to be installed. The deck of this superstructure was then leveled at a height of eleven feet above the water, planked with timber and fitted with a circular oak ring centered over the oil storage room to serve as an anchoring foundation for the cast iron tower itself.
…One can only imagine the drudgery involved for the keepers who manned this station. Every afternoon he would have to leave the safety of the dwelling in Cheboygan and row the 1/4 mile out to the light in whatever weather the lake was dishing-up that day. On arrival at the crib, he would carefully secure his boat at the foot of the crib, and then gingerly step from the heaving boat onto the eleven foot ladder, climbing up to the deck while simultaneously carrying any supplies needed for the night. The lamp would illuminated at dusk, and the keeper would then sit in the solitude of the tower, huddled close to the stove to keep warm on cold nights during the late season, making frequent climbs to the lantern to adjust the light by trimming the wick, winding the occulting mechanism and adding fuel to the lamp. As dawn finally raised its head across the Straits of Mackinac, the lamp would be extinguished, and the illuminating apparatus, lens and lantern would be cleaned in preparation for illumination later that day. The keeper would then row the ¼ mile back to shore to get some sleep, knowing that he would have to back out on the crib to repeat the cycle a few short hours later.
Sounds like a wonderful job. Read lots more about the light from Terry Pepper.