Lighthouse Construction





Lighthouses are constructed of wood, granite, brick, sandstone, steel, cast iron, reinforced concrete, marble, and aluminum.  They represent many shapes:  cylindrical, conical, square, octagonal, square pyramidal, and triangular.  Additionally, some light towers are separate structures, some are attached by walkways, and some are integral or built right-into the keeper's quarters.  Politics, cost, location, special needs, geography at the site, and available technology at the time of construction influenced lighthouse construction and design throughout history.

The USCG photos below show examples of various shapes and attachments found on the Great Lakes and two (caisson & screwpile) that are found in coastal ocean waters.

Attached Photo 1
Au Sable, Lake Superior

Cylindrical Photo 2
St. Clair Flats Front Range, Lake Saint Clair

Skeletal Photo 1
Alpena, Lake Huron

Attached Photo 2
Point Betsie, Lake Michigan

Integral Photo 1
Monroe, Lake Erie

Skeletal Photo 2
Whitefish Point, Lake Superior
Caisson Photo
Duxbury, MA, Atlantic Ocean

Integral Photo 2
Round Island, Lake Huron

Square Photo 1
Belle Isle, Lake Saint Clair

Conical Photo 1
Fort Gratiot, Lake Huron

Octagonal Photo 1
Cheboygan Crib, Lake Huron

Square Photo 2
Sand Hills, Lake Superior

Conical Photo 2
Seul Choix Pointe, Lake Michigan

Octagonal Photo 2
Passage Island, Lake Superior

Square Pyramidal Photo 1
Ludington, Lake Michigan

Cylindrical Photo 1
Detroit River, Lake Erie

Screwpile Photo
Thomas Point, MD, Atlantic Ocean

Square Pyramidal Photo 2
Manistique, Lake Michigan