History of the Ashtabula LighthouseBefore the completion of the new 1905 lighthouse, the river-widening project left the 1876 structure sixty feet out into the river and away from the pier. This gave the appearance of a “floating lighthouse.” Later during the construction that 1876 lighthouse actually did float, it was moved off it's island (or the dock) and was placed on a barge until the 1905 lighthouse was completed. Both the old and the new lighthouses could now only be reached by boat by the keepers.
Until 1915 civilian keepers who lived at the Walnut Boulevard house that is presently the Ashtabula Maritime Museum manned the lighthouse. They would alternate duties at the lighthouse and made relief trips by boat. Fayette E. Walworth was appointed keeper on February 6, 1894 and resigned for physical reasons on November 1, 1905. Charles W. Anderson, who replaced Walworth, served until 1915 at which time the lighthouse became the responsibility of the U.S. Coast Guard.
In 1916 the light was moved approximately 1,750 feet NNE of the previous site. The structure was doubled in size and a new 50-foot concrete crib was built to support it. The two-story building was constructed of steel with iron plate. This new lighthouse was now able to house the light keepers.
In 1927, the steamer Gleneagles of the Canadian Steamship Lines, rammed the lighthouse and drove it back six inches heavily damaging the ship. No injuries were reported.
In 1959 the U.S. Coast Guard installed a new Fourth Order Fresnel lens light in the lighthouse. The light rotated and emitted a three second white flash that could be seen as far as 19 miles on a clear night. This light, made in France in 1896, remained in use until 1995 when it was removed and taken by the Coast Guard to be permanently displayed at the Ashtabula Maritime Museum. A foghorn was also installed in the lighthouse that blew two blasts every minute. The National Park Service describes the fog signal in 1994, as an original/siren, Diaphone. In addition, an automatic radio transmitted a dash-dash-dot signal at a specific period. These were important aids to the shipping navigations going to and coming from the harbor. Although the beacon light was electric, operation of the foghorn required immediate supervision.
The lighthouse remained manned by the U.S. Coast Guard until 1973 when it was automated. At that time it was the last remaining light to be manned on Lake Erie.