Missionary-geographer John Heckewelder was prophetic in the 1790s when he mapped the place where the Cuyahoga River flows into Lake Erie. He wrote, “Cujahaga will hereafter be a place of great importance.” In 1796, surveyors arrived to plot a new town and named it after their superintendent, Moses Cleaveland. Soon Cleveland (the a was omitted on early maps) was a magnet for inventors and entrepreneurs. By 1829–1830, a lighthouse was necessary to support lake traffic spurred by shipbuilding, shipping, and population growth. A succession of taller, brighter structures has guided mariners into the Cleveland harbor, creating a splendid history. Remarkable people have tended these sometimes-silent sentinels through decades of calm nights and dramatic storms, subtly contributing to the region’s growth and prosperity.
Author Bio: Janice B. Patterson gained an appreciation for Cleveland’s past while working with urban planners and historic preservationists as assistant dean for administration at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. She discovered a rich collection of historical photographs and postcards in the university library and then extended her search to local and national collections to unravel the elusive stories of Cleveland’s several lighthouses and their harbor companions through the years.
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