Friday, March 10, 2006


Something you'll quickly notice if you search for lighthouses along the Great Lakes is the amount of red coloration among them. Most have red roofs, if nothing else. Some of the towers are painted red, and in a few instances, like the north canal light at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, the structures are entirely red.

I'd venture to guess the color red was chosen to emphasize the import of the tasks assigned to them in the mid-to-late 1800s. Most of the lighthouses doubled as life saving stations. Seeing red would have a good thing for sailors in distress on the Great Lakes.

Photo Friday's theme this week is red. If you're in the mood to see some fiery hues, head on over.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2006 James Jordan.


Roger said...

Maybe the United States Lighthouse Service just got a really good deal on red paint.

Katina Mooneyham said...

I love this picture. The sky in the background, the clouds that seem pink, are reflecting this red no?

Just as with fire engines red is a fiery outstanding color, ie it stands out!

Thanks for that beautiful picture. I have been wanting to visit quite a few lighthouses on the Great Lakes for a time. I have seen the ones in Ohio (where I live).

PhilB said...

Like this one a lot James. The contrast of the lighthouse with the sky is excellent. Do they have many boats on the Great Lakes then (excuse my ignorance!). I'm surprised for the need for lighthouses technically inland?!

keltic&swiss said...

"Red sky at night, Sailor's Delight!"

Great photo, Jim! (As always!)

Ryan Rahn said...

Wonderful colors and contrast!

James said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James said...

roger, I suspected that might be it, but I couldn't verify that through my research.

katrina, sometimes the clouds off the eastern shore of the Great Lakes takes on a distinct reddish-pink hue at sunset as in this photo. I just happened to be there photographing a red lighthouse when it happened. There are some great lighthouses in Ohio I'd like to visit sometime.

Philb, thanks for the kind comment. When the iron ore and lumber industries were booming in the upper midwest in the late 1800s/early 1900s, there was a lot of shipping on the Great Lakes. The many rocky shoals in the lakes, combined with unpredictable weather brought about the need for lighthouses, although I suspect political favors may have had something to do with the fact that there are or were nearly 200 lighthouses along the coastlines of eight U.S. states that border the lakes. Technological advances in navigation have rendered most of the lighthouses obsolete.

k&s, the sight was a delight, the weather was a fright. It was extremely cold when this was taken in the fall.

ryan, thanks for the kind words. I enjoy visiting your site often.