Guardians of the Manitou Passage: A Chronicle of Service to Lake Michigan Mariners, 1840-1915

Guardians of the Manitou Passage: A Chronicle of Service to Lake Michigan Mariners, 1840-1915 - Jonathan P. Hawley

Guardians of the Manitou Passage: A Chronicle of Service to Lake Michigan Mariners, 1840-1915


Voices heard from the dark water: "There's hope! I think I see a flare! Help will be on the way! Lifesavers are on the shore! Our creaking old schooner will be saved, and we will not drown in the icy lake!"

The tranquil waters and pleasant, blue skies of Lake Michigan can quickly change to impenetrable fog and dangerously roiling seas that can drive helpless ships toward shore and likely grounding. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there was no GPS to aid navigation. On northeastern Lake Michigan's Manitou Passage, as elsewhere, ship captains and crews counted upon the protection of lightkeepers and lifesavers, whose resourcefulness and bravery enabled them to save countless sailors, ships, and valuable cargoes.

Night and day, lightkeepers maintained fog signals and climbed light stations' towers to maintain their fragile lenses and other vital apparatus, refuel lamps, and trim wicks. Lifesavers faced nightly beach patrols, station watches, daily boat drills, and practices of other essential procedures. Guardians of the Manitou Passage: A Chronicle of Service to Lake Michigan Mariners, 1840-1915covers the history of the lifesavers and lightkeepers who battled high winds and waves, frigid temperatures, and icy shores during their mission to protect lives on perilous Lake Michigan.

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Voices heard from the dark water: "There's hope! I think I see a flare! Help will be on the way! Lifesavers are on the shore! Our creaking old schooner will be saved, and we will not drown in the icy lake!"

The tranquil waters and pleasant, blue skies of Lake Michigan can quickly change to impenetrable fog and dangerously roiling seas that can drive helpless ships toward shore and likely grounding. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there was no GPS to aid navigation. On northeastern Lake Michigan's Manitou Passage, as elsewhere, ship captains and crews counted upon the protection of lightkeepers and lifesavers, whose resourcefulness and bravery enabled them to save countless sailors, ships, and valuable cargoes.

Night and day, lightkeepers maintained fog signals and climbed light stations' towers to maintain their fragile lenses and other vital apparatus, refuel lamps, and trim wicks. Lifesavers faced nightly beach patrols, station watches, daily boat drills, and practices of other essential procedures. Guardians of the Manitou Passage: A Chronicle of Service to Lake Michigan Mariners, 1840-1915covers the history of the lifesavers and lightkeepers who battled high winds and waves, frigid temperatures, and icy shores during their mission to protect lives on perilous Lake Michigan.

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