The South Bass Island Lighthouse greets visitors arriving on the southern point of the island. First lit in 1897, this important part of Put-in-Bay’s history is much the same as it was when it was first built.
With its location on the very southern tip of the island, it doesn’t have a ton of neighbors close by. If you plan on touring the lighthouse, a golf cart is a good way to get there. After your tour, grab a drink at Joe’s Pub or a full gourmet meal at Goat Soup and Whiskey.
South Bass Island Lighthouse Tours
Besides alerting ships to the presence of South Bass Island, the lighthouse is also open for tours on select dates from June to October. Contact the Stone Lab Bayview office to schedule groups tours available from April to November. The lighthouse is operated by the Ohio Sea Grant.
Visitors learn about the area’s history, the ecology of the surrounding area, and the story of the lighthouse. They then head up the stairs to the top of the lighthouse to take in stunning views of Lake Erie and the surrounding region.
The grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the lighthouse is occasionally closed for private events.
The Ohio Sea Grant operates the lighthouse. This vital organization also runs the Aquatic Visitors Center, Gibraltar Island, and Cooke’s Castle, which is also located on Gibraltar.
They also lead the way in the important research conducted at Stone Laboratory where students from Ohio University study in fields such as oceanography and biology during the summer.
The History of the South Bass Island Lighthouse
The history of the South Bass Island Lighthouse is indeed fascinating. Originally planned for the northern tip of the island, Lieutenant Charles T. Platt made the decision the southern tip would be much more effective. He even carved “LH” into a tree at the site.
Funds were requested in 1890 by the United State Lighthouse Board but it took almost seven years to raise the necessary funds of $8600. The design of the lighthouse is somewhat unusual. It consists of a two-story, red brick building attached to the twelve-foot square tower. It stands forty-five feet tall and topped with a fourth-order L. Sautter & Cie., Fresnel lens that produces a fixed red light by using a ruby chimney in its lamp.
The lighthouse, which opened to the public in 2007, is now home to home to OSU research and academic staff.