Huron Lightship - Port Huron, Michigan
City of Museums - www.phmuseum.org
The Lightship Huron played a vital role in protecting ships on their way into and out of Lake Huron via the St. Clair River. About 6 miles north of Port Huron is a sandy area in Lake Huron known as Corsica Shoals. Essentially a big sandbar, Corsica Shoals presents a real danger to be avoided. Areas like this were often too deep, expensive, or otherwise impractical for the construction of a permanent lighthouse. Lightships like the Huron provided the answer. She is a floating lighthouse and was stationed at the shoals for more than three decades.
The Huron displayed her light, equipped with a Fresnel lens from atop a 42 foot mast. During periods of fog, the ship sounded a for signal and broadcast a radio beacon. Over the years the fog signals changed and included bells, whistles, trumpets, sirens and horns. Early on the fog horn was steam powered. Later the fog horn blast was produced with compressed air. The Huron sounded her fog horn in 3 second blasts every 30 seconds. The sound was distinctive and was known locally as “Old B.O.”.
The lightship Huron is now a most unique museum in Port Huron. She is permanently moored in Pine Grove Park on the St. Clair River in Port Huron, Michigan. There is a fascinating and informative tour that provides visitors a view of every part of the ship, including “the hole”. The demonstration of the function of the Fresnel lens is particularly interesting. The details covered, such as the “fiddle board” on the officers dining room table, the 500 foot anchor chain, the “air conditioning system” and the collection of artifacts bring it all to life. On top of all that, there is a live camera feed of the bottom of the river. Sometimes you can see fish passing by and, if you are very lucky, you might even see a sturgeon.