Friday, August 6, 2021

Presque Isle Lighthouse in Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA Reviewed

Presque Isle Lighthouse
When we helped move our daughter to Buffalo, NY, there were a few sites we wanted to take time to see along the way.  One of those sites was the Presque Isle Lighthouse in Presque Isle State Park.  

We spent the night in Erie, PA on the way to NY, but didn't have time to visit the Erie lighthouses until we were on our way back home.  Since we drove the U-haul truck to Buffalo, I'm really glad we waited to go to Presque Isle State Park in a car instead of the truck.  

The park was full of guests visiting the beaches, fishing, biking, walking the trails, and of course, visiting the lighthouses.  Even though there was a lot of traffic, most of the people seemed to be there for the beaches, swimming, or other water activity.  This allowed us easy parking and access to the Presque Isle Lighthouse.

While I love lighthouses, I tend to prefer the lighthouses that have a lighthouse keeper's residence. Perhaps, I romanticize the historical accounts of lighthouse keepers, but there is no doubt they served to save many lives.  I consider them heroes who diligently tended the lights every night, all night long, in order to keep others safe.

Today, the Presque Isle Lighthouse is a public museum and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Guests are allowed to freely walk around the grounds, visit the gift shop, or even climb the 78 steps up to the top of the lighthouse. 

A Bit of History of the Presque Isle Lighthouse

Presque Isle Lighthouse

As you can see on the date brick, the lighthouse building was started in 1872, but actually put into service in July of 1873.  
(You may need to click the photo to enlarge it to see the date clearly)

We were standing on these grounds and I took this picture 148 years later in July of 2021.

The lighthouse was originally lit by an oil lamp inside a Forth-order (smaller than a First-order) Fresnel lens which was removed in 1962. It currently uses an isophase light (dark & light periods of equal length).  

The four bedroom house was home to a lighthouse keeper and family until 1944.

When built, the tower was 40 ft. tall.  In 1896, an additional 17 ft was added to the tower.  By comparing the two pictures below, you can see where that 17 feet were added.  The bricks was later painted white to make the tower more visible during daylight hours.

Presque Isle LighthouseUnited States Lighthouse Board, Public domain,
via Wikimedia Commons

Presque Isle LighthousePhoto by @Sylvestermouse (2021)

I loved visiting this historical location and I loved that it was being "appreciated" by so many guests.  If you find yourself near Erie, PA, be sure to stop by Presque Isle State Park and enjoy all of the surroundings and climbing the stairs to the top of the Presque Isle Lighthouse.



More Articles About the Presque Isle Lighthouse

  • You can read more of the real history of Presque Isle Lighthouse by clicking here.
  • Our Contributor, Mary Beth, also shared several of her gorgeous photos of the Presque Isle Lighthouse and two other Erie Lighthouses here on Review This Reviews. You can see her photos by clicking here.

 See More Travel Reviews & Recommendations On
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  1. I certainly must have passed by this lighthouse in the past, having traveled that route many times, but never stopped to visit. Terrific to have a virtual visit via your wonderful photos and description and now, next trip, I will have to stop and see the Presque Isle Lighthouse. I've always liked lighthouses and have visited others and our daughter was actually married at one (The Tybee Island, GA lighthouse) at the former lighthouse keeper's residence. :)

    1. Elf, I am so sorry you have missed seeing this lighthouse in the past! I know how much you enjoy visiting & photographing lighthouses. There are actually two lighthouses within the park. I liked this one the best simply because it had the residence.

      I definitely remember seeing the lovely pictures of your daughter's lighthouse wedding.

  2. Thanks for bringing back the memories. I'm so glad you got to visit the lighthouse. You know I think lighthouses are so special. From 2007 (when I retired) till 2019 when we stopped traveling, Ray and I visited 157 lighthouses. It was quite an adventure and now we have so many good memories. Seeing your review brought back those memories of Erie. We too stayed there overnight and were able to visit the isle the first evening and then the land lighthouse the next morning before we headed on our way to our son's.

    1. Wow! I know you had a wonderful time visiting and photographing all 157 lighthouses. I have enjoyed seeing your photos over the years, but didn't realize you had visited so many. That is truly awesome!

  3. What a beautiful lighthouse. I love the house that was attached. You took me back in time and I was imagining the occupant(s) of that house (and lighthouse). The area sounds lovely as well - swimming, beaches etc, so relaxing. Oh, and 17 feet added to the original lighthouse makes a huge difference in the size (visually!) - good idea to paint it white - although I do love natural brick as well. What a pretty spot.

    1. It is a wonderful park to visit Barbara! People everywhere were having such a lovely day. Just listening to the hum of conversation and laughter, watching some even fish off the pier, was indeed restful and "enchanting". I would have liked to stay a lot longer and I wished we had through to bring a picnic lunch.

  4. I'm glad you took time to enjoy something this special. One of my very favorite things to do is travel to visit historic lighthouses. I've seen a great many, but this one is new to me. Thanks for the introduction. Hope to visit it one day.

    1. I hope you get the opportunity to visit this lighthouse Diana. Being able to climb to the top is a special treat and one I had to forego on this trip simply because my legs were too tired from moving week. I'll go back to visit and be prepared to climb those steps myself the next time!

  5. What a lovely lighthouse! I am glad you took the opportunity to visit and tell us about it. I do love lighthouses and always think how they are keeping people safe. It is great that there is a house attached to the Presque Isle Lighthouse. The 17 feet that has been added on to the lighthouse makes a huge difference you can clearly see in your photos.Thank you for sharing this interesting visit with us.

    1. It really is a lovely lighthouse. Actually, the entire park is beautiful and well worth visiting. I read somewhere that the added height was so the tower would exceed the height of the surrounding trees. When visiting the park itself, I can certainly see why that was necessary.

  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful virtual visit to Erie, PA and the Presque Isle Lighthouse, Mouse! I’m so glad that you were able to enjoy special places like Niagara Falls and Presque Isle State Park on your way home from helping your daughter move to New York State.

    Like you, I also like to think about the courageous lighthouse keepers and their families who braved dangers themselves to keep others safe. I am glad that the house had four bedrooms, since nuclear families tended to be larger when it was built than they typically are today. The 17-foot addition to the tower must have made a huge difference in visibility as well as appearance!

    Thank you again for the pleasure of sharing your visit.

  7. I've never been up that way, but it looks lovely. If I do get a chance to head up there on vacation I'd love to explore the area. I love lighthouses, growing up not too far from the "original" Portland lighthouse in Dorset, England.

  8. This sounds like a really nice "mini" holiday for my sweetie and I. Waiting till the borders re-open and then there will be no stopping us. I love small trips that I can do easily from my home and this one is quite on the dot for us. I will make sure that he gets the idea that I want to go here and enjoy this lighthouse and its surrounding. Thanks for putting this on my map of places to go and things to do!

  9. Oh wow!! You guys stayed in Erie, and you were only 40 minutes from my house. We have been to that light house many times. I just love the history! It drives me crazy. I must say it was a good idea not to visit with a big truck. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  10. Thanks for taking us on a trip to the Presque Isle Lighthouse. I think a lighthouse-themed trip would be a lot of fun!


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