U.S. Coast Guard Lightships

& Those of the U.S. Lighthouse Service




BUILT AT: Toledo (OH)

BUILDER: Blythe Craig Shipbuilding Co

APPROPRIATION: $60,000 (Approp. for 3 ships-Simmons Reef, White Shoal, & Grays Reef)

CONTRACT PRICE: $14,225 ($42,675 for 3 ships)


DESIGN: Wood framed and planked; white oak fastened with 5/8" square iron spikes 2 masts, daymark on foremast; spencer mast aft of main for riding sail; stack on deckhouse amidships

LENGTH: 102'8" (loa); BEAM: 20'; DRAFT: 89"; TONNAGE: 130 gross

PROPULSION: Steam screw-one single cylinder non-condensing engine; 14" bore x 16" stroke, 100 IEP, fire-tube boiler 5' dia x 9'lg; max speed 8 knots

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: Cluster of 3 oil burning lens lanterns hoisted to each mast head

FOG SIGNAL: 6" steam whistle, hand operated bell


-One of 3 vessels designed for use only during the navigation season on the Great Lakes, as an experiment to avoid the high initial and recurring costs for a permanent lighthouse. Maintenance and operating cost for each lightship was estimated at $4,000 per year. Each had enough power for getting to and from station. Mooring, consisting of a 5 ton sinker and 15 fathoms of 2 inch chain was prepositioned permanently eliminating the need (and cost) for the lightship to carry mushrooms and chain - First US lightships with propelling engine
-Upon delivery, many construction defects were found during sea trials, and many interior modifications had to be made for comfort of the crew
-1891: Masts found unnecessarily long; shortened during winter layup
-1893: Fog bell added
-1910: Equipped with submarine bell signal
-1913: After spencer mast removed 1913/1914; hull lettering shortened to MANITOU


1891-1909: White Shoal (MI)
1910-1926: North Manitou Shoal (MI)
1927-1928: Grays Reef (MI)

(White Shoal station discontinued 1909)


1891: Sep 14/15, turned over to Lighthouse Establishment at Detroit (MI)
1891: Oct 2,5,6, sea trials conducted; many defects noted; fitted out
1891: Oct 19, departed Detroit, reaching Port Huron in evening
1891: Oct 20, LV 55,56 & 57 using their own power to assist were taken in tow by tender DAHLIA, making 9 knots; laid over at Sand Beach Harbor of Refuge due to bad weather
1891: Oct 24, placed on White Shoal (MI), northerly end of Lake Michigan
1891: Nov 17-20, left station without orders and put into Cheboygan; crew discharged for dereliction of duty; replaced with others "more trustworthy"; vessel replaced on station by tender DAHLIA Nov 22, remaining until close of navigation at which time put into Cheboygan winter quarters. Many deficiencies due to missing, incomplete or faulty equipment were corrected during winter and masts were shortened
1892: Apr 14, resumed station until Dec 7; wintered at Cheboygan (MI)
1892-1907: maintained station Apr/May to Dec, wintering at Cheboygan (Sturgeon Bay WI in 1906). Needed repairs carried out each year in winter quarters
1896: Fog signal in operation 371 hours consuming 17 tons coal & 2 1/2 cords wood
1897: Smokestack replaced; deck houses enlarged and improved
1898: Extensive interior modifications; boiler repairs
1900: Due to rot, substantial amount of hull and deck planking replaced
1902: Extensive hull repairs; stateroom built for Master
1906: Extensive repairs to hull and machinery
1909: Dec, withdrawn, White Shoal station discontinued
1910: Placed on North Manitou Shoal (MI); remaining assigned through 1926
1927: Placed on Grays Reef remaining through the 1928 season



Sold Dec 20, 1928


1892-1893: Samuel Dodd, Keeper
1893-?: Samuel Dodd, Master

?-1915: Charles B Corlett, Master
1915-1916: Richard D Baxter, Mate
1916-1917: Ervin Hartung, Mate
1917-1918: Hubert R Benson, Mate
1918-1921: Charles Cretean, Mate
1915-1918: Robert Bruce, Master
1918-1919: Albert F Pitman, Master
1920-1927: Edward A Hansen, Master
1921: John 0 Neil Jr, Mate
1922: Sigurd Frey, Mate
1922-1927: William J Stewart, Mate
1927-1928: William J Stewart, Master
1928: Louis A Anderson, Mate









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Last Modified 1/26/2012