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Photos - Great Lakes 

We are continually acquiring wonderful and rare  original photographs of the U.S. Coast Guard. Below are photos and information. Inquiries welcomed.

See also our new U.S. Life Saving Service page.

See also Photos - Coast Guard, Life-Saving Service, etc. 

 

1649. (stereoview) Erie Land Lighthouse, Pennsylvania c.1890’s. View by Weber’s City Views. This was the third light tower at this interesting light station. Good detail. Clean, light edge wear. (VG). $68.

 

15149a-g. (photos) Great Lakes – Maine Light Stations c.1950-1980’s. Large 16” x 20” b/w original prints by Ernie Landow of Chicago area. The photographer, who enlarged these himself, was Ernie Landow, who was a member of the Ridge Camera Club in Chicago. The large 16” x 20” prints are on Ilford photographic paper and are clear and crisp. Just a bit of edge wear from storage. Views include: (a). Au Sable Point Light, Lake Superior; (b). Big Sable Point Light, Lake Michigan; (c). Nubble Light, York, Maine; (d). Bass Harbor Head Light, Maine; (e). Rawley Point Light, Wisc. Lake Michigan; (f). Whitefish Point Light, Lake Superior, Michigan; (g). Big Sable Point Light, Lake Michigan. Wonderful for framing. $36 each. 

 

11115. [photograph] c.1900. Original portrait photograph, of U.S. Life-Saving Service Surfman from Chicago area by 20th Century Photo Studio, Chicago, Illinois. This rare posed portrait photograph shows the handsome young surfman proudly posing in his 4-button single-breasted uniform coat. Clearly visible on his right sleeve is the life ring with crossed oar and pike. Great early detail, on postcard paper. 3 ½” x 5 ½”. This is unusually close and clear, only light wear, remains of album mounting on obverse. (VG). $88.

U. S. Light-House Service District Charts

 

20178. [Light-House District Maps]. U. S. Light-House Service. c. 1900-1908. A rare opportunity to obtain an official U. S. Light-House Service District charts of all district aids to navigation as bound in their Annual Reports. Normally these charts are included within the Annual Reports and we are unable to offer them separately but we have found a lot of disbound charts in wonderful condition. These are perfect for matting and framing for your wall. Charts detail the entire Light-House District in three colors, and show all lighthouses, beacons, light vessels, fog signals, lighted buoys, Light-House Depots, and more. Charts average about 16" x 20" in size and are clean and crisp, with only light original folds. A rare chance to obtain the chart of your District, ideal for framing. (VG+).

NINTH LIGHT-HOUSE DISTRICT. Includes all of Lake Michigan, Green Bay and tributary waters. $88.

TENTH LIGHT-HOUSE DISTRICT. Extends from the mouth of the St. Regis River, St. Lawrence River, New York to the mouth of the River Rouge, Detroit River, Michigan. Includes the waters of Lakes Erie and Ontario, and the upper part of the St. Lawrence, the Niagara, and the lower part of the Detroit rivers. $78.

ELEVENTH LIGHT-HOUSE DISTRICT. Extends from the mouth of the River Rouge, Detroit River, Michigan to the westerly end of Lake Superior including the waters of Lake St, Clair, Huron, and Superior and the upper part of the Detroit River, the St. Clair and St. Mary’s Rivers, and part of the Straits of Mackinac. $78.

Smaller size 8" x 10" $44 each. 

 

10433. (photo) Interior View, Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, Lake Michigan c.1976. Clear, close original 8” x 10” press photos shows a rare view of the interior of this brick lined round cast iron tower. The interior is unusually spairce, with only a bed, chair and desk. Only a clock, lamp with bare bulb, camera and magazine sit on the desk. A towel is hung over the window on the door to block the light. To the right can be seen the spiral stairway leading up to the lantern. The Coast Guard keeper (fireman Fred Karlhofer) lies on the bed reading a car magazine. The first Chicago Lighthouse was built in 1832, and several more have followed. The existing light was built at the mouth of the Chicago River in 1893, which was the site of the previous lights. It was moved to its present location on the north breakwater in 1919. The station consists of a 48-foot high, brick-lined round steel tower that is 18-feet in diameter. The lantern is 10-sided built of cast iron, and houses a Third Order Fresnel Lens that flashes a red light 82 feet above the water. The lens had been displayed at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1891 and was destined for the new Point Loma California light. However, the lens was installed in the Chicago light when completed in 1893. Keepers manned the station until 1979 when the light was automated. It is rare that we find such intimate photos of the interiors and the keeper in his day to day activities. Photo is b/w and includes date of October 28, 1976 and credit line or description on back. (VG+). $88.

10444. (photo) Interior View, Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, Lake Michigan c.1971. Clear, close original 8” x 10” press photos shows a rare view of the interior of this brick lined round cast iron tower. View shown is looking up the stairway from the watch room into the lantern room. The first Chicago Lighthouse was built in 1832, and several more have followed. The existing light was built at the mouth of the Chicago River in 1893, which was the site of the previous lights. It was moved to its present location on the north breakwater in 1919. The station consists of a 48-foot high, brick-lined round steel tower that is 18-feet in diameter. The lantern is 10-sided built of cast iron, and houses a Third Order Fresnel Lens that flashes a red light 82 feet above the water. The lens had been displayed at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1891 and was destined for the new Point Loma California light. However, the lens was installed in the Chicago light when completed in 1893. Keepers manned the station until 1979 when the light was automated. It is rare that we find such intimate photos of the interiors. Photo is b/w and includes date of April 18, 1971 and credit line or description on back. (VG+). $68.

10402. (photo) Rock Harbor Lighthouse, Michigan c.1945.  Clear, close original 8” x 10” press photos shows great detail of the light tower and keeper’s house before restoration. The Lighthouse is located in Rock Harbor on Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. The lighthouse is a 50-foot-tall cylindrical tower constructed of randomly placed stone and brick, and capped with an octagonal beacon. Congress appropriated $5,000 to construct a light at Rock Harbor and construction began in 1855, the first lighthouse constructed on Isle Royal. The first keeper arrived at the station on October 24, 1856, and the lighthouse went into operation a short time later. The light had been manned for less than three years when it was determined that, due to the decrease in mining traffic, it was no longer required and was extinguished in 1859. During the Civil War, copper mining increased once more, and in 1873 renovations began on the station, leading to the reactivation of the light on August 5, 1874. However, after another drop in copper prices, and following the activation in 1875 of the Isle Royal Light at Menagerie Island, the Rock Harbor Light was rendered less useful. On October 4, 1879, the Rock Harbor lighthouse was deactivated for the second and last time, having been in service for a total of only eight years since its construction. Photos show great details of the structures. Photo is b/w and include date and credit line or description on back, with some crop marking. Dated July 1, 1945.(VG).  $58.

10389. (photo) Presque Isle Lighthouse c.1947. Clear, close 8” x 10”press photo shows Francis Stebbins as he displays a bellows that he has preserved, believed to be a relic of J Davis c.1840  during the early years of the light station. In 1871, the old 1840 lighthouse was decommissioned and in 1897 it was sold to the highest bidder, E.O. Avery. After a few years he resold to General Duffield who owned it about a year until purchased by Bliss Stebbins. In 1930, Bliss Stebbins sold the property to Francis B. Stebbins, shown here. Due to deterioration of the dwelling it was demolished and rebuilt on the same foundation in the late 1930's. Francis died in 1969 and the property was willed to his son James Stebbins. Great detail, posed in front of the “1840” corner stone. August 17, 1947. With credit line and description on front. (VG) $34.

   

10235. (photo) Grand Traverse Lighthouse, Northpoint, Michigan c. 1981. Clear, close 8” x 10” Detroit News photo shows an unusually close view of the keeper’s house and light tower. Located inside the Leelanau State Park in Northern Michigan, The Grand Traverse Lighthouse has been guiding ships and sailors since it was built in 1852. With credit line or description on back. (VG+) $38.

1044. (mounted photo) U.S. Life Saving Service Motor Lifeboat (Great Lakes) c.1890. Good view of life-saving crew pulling in an early 36-foot motor lifeboat. Measures 3 ½” x 4 ½”. One crease but does not greatly affect the image although it is through the image. This photo is from the personal collection of Lieut. C. H. McLellan, Assistant Inspector of United States Life-Saving Service Stations. (VG-). $18.

1045a,b. (photo) U.S. Life Saving Service Motor Lifeboat (Great Lakes) c.1890. Good view of Life-Saving Service early motor lifeboat moored at the pier. Bronze life ring with crossed oars insignia is visible on the bow. Measures 3 ¼” x 5”.  This photo is from the personal collection of Lieut. C. H. McLellan, Assistant Inspector of United States Life-Saving Service Stations. (VG-). $16.

29335. (lot 5 photos) U.S. Life Saving Service Surf Boat Practice, Great Lakes c.1901. Great lot shows good views of surfboat and lifeboat drills. Rare images measures 3 3/8” x 3 3/8” (4) and 3 3/8” x 4 3/8” (1).  and are clean and clear. Dated on back June 17, 1901. This lot is from the personal collection of Lieut. C. H. McLellan, Assistant Inspector of United States Life-Saving Stations. (VG+). $45.

29279. (mounted photo) Erie (Presque Isle) Life Saving / Coast Guard Station, Lake Erie, Pennsylvania c.1917. Superb mounted photo shows the 1875-Type life saving station, located on the north side of Erie Harbor, after it was modified and updated. The station remains in operation to this day, assigned to the Ninth District (Great Lakes) of the U.S. Coast Guard. View measures 4 ½” x 6 ½” and is crystal clear, showing great detail of the station, additional watch tower, as well as the Life-Saving Service pennant flying from the mast. These photos are from the personal collection of Lieut. C. H. McLellan, Assistant Inspector of United States Life-Saving Stations. (VG+). $74. 

11154. (photo) Michigan City Lighthouse, Indiana c.1973. Close 8” x 11” press photo shows the Michigan City Lighthouse on Lake Michigan as the light was about to shine again. Following a restoration of the building, it was to be opened as the Old Lighthouse Museum. Clear close view of the keeper’s dwelling and lantern room. With credit line and description on back. Dated May 31, 1973. (VG) $26.

29278. (lot 4 mounted photos) U. S. Life Saving Service, 34ft Wooden Merryman Type E Motor Life-boat “Intrepid”, Duluth Life Saving Station c.1900. Superb set of four mounted photo shows the Type E motor-lifeboat of the Duluth station performing an overturn drill for crowds watching at a large exposition. Nice set of views shows various points in the drill with great detail. Views measure 4 ½” x 6 ½”. These photos are from the personal collection of Lieut. C. H. McLellan, Assistant Inspector of United States Life-Saving Stations. (VG). $165. 

29141. (cabinet photo) U.S. Life-Saving Station, Old Chicago, Lake Michigan c.1905. One of the largest Life-Saving Service cabinet views that I have yet had, this striking piece measures a full 10” x 13 3/8” on its original 12” x 16” mount and provides an extremely rare view of this large “modern” life-saving station. The first Chicago station was established in 1877-78. opened as part of the 10th District, as Life Saving Station #7. The Chicago station was located on the south side of the Chicago River just inside the entrance on a 48ft X 77ft plot of land. Over time it was determined that the station was far too small for the eight man crew assigned. Soon officials were calling for a first class station to be built to house a full crew of life savers for such an important city. Eventually Lt J. E. Reinburg of the Chicago Life-Saving Service District Office began to make plans for the new station. However, it wasn't until 1902 that they received a set of proposed plans and not until 1905 that the station was built and actually ready to be moved into. The original station continued to used to house equipment and apparatus until 1925, when station crew razed the old station, saving anything of use including nails to build a new storage building. The photo itself is large and quite detailed. Included in this unusually close view are a number of scenes, each of which would make a fine photo. First is a motor yacht, apparently used by the District Inspector or station crew for inspections or to aid in search and rescue. The second view includes the station with its four boat ramps. A crew of eight men stands with one surfboat, while other boats can be seen on the rails. In the foreground is a motor lifeboat  with both sails up. Image is clear and close, just a bit of soiling and provides an unprecedented view. The mount has had wear, with some bent edges, but by and large the photo itself is unaffected. This is an exceptionally rare view, taken near the opening of this unusual station,  soon after the station was completed in 1905. It is by far the largest of the day that I have yet seen and is truly a museum piece. (VG-). $325.

29107. (cabinet photo) Surfman, U. S. Life Saving Service by Armour, Oswego, New York. c.1890-1910. Superb view shows a handsome surfman, nicely posing in uniform. Easily readable is the “Life Saving Service” on his band and his life ring with crossed oars insignia on his arm, and a portion of his ranking insignia “5”. Clear close view on photographer’s mount measures  5” x 8 ½” overall. Moderate edge wear to mount, otherwise clean clear view. (VG). $225.

    

25367. (cabinet photo) Surfman, U. S. Life Saving Service by F. B. Way, Ashtabula, Ohio. c.1890-1900. Superb view shows a handsome surfman, posing with uniform hat in hand. Easily readable is the “Life Saving Service” on his band and his “U. S. L. S. S.” insignia on his arm. Clear close view on photographer’s mount measures 4 ¼” x 6 ½” . Moderate edge wear to mount, otherwise clean crisp view. (VG). $295. 

  

10333. (photo) Lighthouse Keepers, Passage Island Light Station, Lake Superior, Isle Royale, Lake Superior, MI. c.1933. Original press photo provides close view of four light keepers, one in uniform, at the Passage Island Light Station. Keepers are identified on the back as Jas. Gagnon, Herbert R. Driver, Charles A. Lewis and Laurence E. Lane. With many vessels making the deep-water passage between the northern tip of Isle Royale and Passage Island, a scant three and a half miles to the north, the Lighthouse Board determined that a light on the southern tip of Passage Island was necessary to mark the deepest northern edge of the channel. Realizing that the costs associated with construction at such a remote and inaccessible location would be high, the Board requested an appropriation of $18,000 for the construction of the station in its annual report for the 1871 fiscal year. The light was finally completed and lit in 1882. In 1978 the station was automated and remains active today. Photo measures 3” x 6”, is fairly clear, has been retouched for printing. With identification and date of January 13, 1933 on back. (VG-). $56.

  

27231. [stereoview] Life Saving Station at Erie, Pennsylvania. (c.1877). By Weber Bros., Erie, Pa. Extremely rare view of the beautiful 1875-Type station as the surfmen pose with their beach apparatus cart. Excellent detail of the ornate structure and surrounding area. Note the surfman watching the lake from the roof lookout. View is remarkably  clear, moderate soiling and some wear to edges. It is extremely difficult to find such views of these early stations and this view is certainly one of the better scenes. (VG).  $124 net.

27129. (stereoview) U. S. Life Saving Station, Cleveland, Ohio c.1870s. Rare early view of the 1875-Type life saving station on the west side of the entrance to Cleveland Harbor. Taken by Sweeny Photographer, this rare view is close and clear. Identified on rear as “U. S. Life Boat House”, the view shows the station with ships and marine businesses in the background. A superb image, this stereoview is in good to very good condition with only light wear and light soiling and/or foxing, one light spot. Very good detail and very good 3d effect when viewed with a stereoscope! (VG-). $144.

2653.  (photo) U.S. Life Saving Station, Harbor Beach, Michigan c.1907. Clear view shows crew posed beside their equipment next to the station. Unusual is the two-horse hitch to pull the apparatus. View measure 3 ½” x 5 ½” on postcard paper. Light wear, postmarked. (VG-). $24

U. S. Life Saving Service Station, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893.

27421b. (glass slide) U. S. Life Saving Service Station, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago , 1893. In 1893 the World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago to present the latest advancements in technology, architecture and American progress to the populace and to the world. As was the practice, the government exhibit included the latest advances in the Life Saving Service, Light-House Service and other agencies. The Exposition covered more than 600 acres, featuring nearly 200 new buildings of European architecture, canals and lagoons, and people and cultures from around the world. Over 27 million people (about half the U.S. population) attended the Exposition over the six months it was open. In fact, at this exhibit a complete life-saving station of a modified Quonochontaug design was constructed and manned for visitors to tour and view the latest advances in the field. Station crews performed tri-weekly surfboat drills which drew large crowds and became a highlight of the fair. After the exposition closed, this station would remain in service as the Jackson Park Life-Saving Station. View is exceptionally clear and detailed. View is of the station as seen from the front door with the “U. S. Life Saving Service” sign prominently displayed on the eaves. Slide measures 3 ¼” x 4” and was manufactured by T. H. McAllister of New York City . Excellent image, clear and close, near fine. Would display beautifully, or could be scanned and printed. (F-). $58.

26270. (photo) Life Saving Station, Tawas Point (Ottawa Point) Michigan c.1910. Clear,  close b/w photo shows the period 1875-Type Tawas life saving station with the surfmen posing with the beach cart on the station ramp and finely dressed Victorian women posing on the lookout stairs.  Nice view, good detail, on postcard paper with message on back. (VG).  $78.

 26235. (photo) Life Saving / Coast Guard Station, East Tawas (Ottawa Point), Michigan c.1928. Clear, close b/w photo shows the period 1875-Type Tawas life saving station Note the rounded lookout tower on top and the numerous additions added over the years. Nice view, good detail, on postcard paper postmarked August 1928. (VG).  $28.  

29331. (slide) Ashtabula Life Saving Station, Ohio. Kodak slide taken of an early photo shows the one-of-a-kind life-saving station designed by architect George R. Tolman in 1892-93. Rare view shows the men posing on the boat-ramp beside their boats. Good detail. Some wear, soiling. (G+). $8.

29302. (copy photo) Waukegan ( Illinois ) Lighthouse with keeper and wife posing. 4” x 5”. $18.

28106. (photo) Barcelona (Portland Harbor) Lighthouse, Lake Erie c.1910. In 1828 Congress appropriated five thousand dollars to construct a lighthouse at Portland Harbor on Lake Erie, which had just be designated an official port of entry. It would later have its name changed to Barcelona. A lot was purchased and the following month, a $2,700 contract for constructing the lighthouse and a keeper’s dwelling was awarded. The contract specifically called for “11 patent lamps; eleven 14” reflectors and 2 spare lamps; double tin oil butts for 500 gals. of oil; 1 lantern canister and iron trivet, etc.” Using native, rough split, fieldstone, Campbell constructed a 40-foot conical tower with a base diameter of twenty-two feet. In 1831, the lighthouse was fitted with natural gas, transported via hollowed-out wooden pipes three quarters of a mile to the Barcelona station. .” It was also stated that when viewed from Lake Erie at night, it looked as if the whole tower were “one complete, constant and unwavering blaze.” Early mounted view measures 3 ½” x 4 ½” on 5 ½” x 6 ½” card mount. Photo is clear and close, light soiling and wear, on period mount. Mount with some edge wear. Would look fine matted. (VG-). $22.

27466. (photo) U. S. Life Saving Service Station, Jackson Park, Chicago c.1900. In 1893 the World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago to present the latest advancements in technology, architecture and American progress to the populace and to the world. As was the practice, the government exhibit included the latest advances in the Life Saving Service, Light-House Service and other agencies. The Exposition covered more than 600 acres, featuring nearly 200 new buildings of European architecture, canals and lagoons, and people and cultures from around the world. Over 27 million people (about half the U.S. population) attended the Exposition over the six months it was open. In fact, at this exhibit a complete life-saving station of a modified Quonochontaug design was constructed and manned for visitors to tour and view the latest advances in the field. Station crews performed tri-weekly surfboat drills which drew large crowds and became a highlight of the fair. After the exposition closed, this station would remain in service as the Jackson Park Life-Saving Station. View is exceptionally clear and detailed. Rare view is of the station as seen from the landward side at the front door with the “U. S. Life Saving Service” sign prominently displayed on the eaves. Photo measures 3 ½” x 5 ½” on postcard paper. Good clear sepia image, light wear. (VG). $19.

    

25339. (photo)  Fairport Harbor Lighthouse, Ohio. c.1920. 5” x 9”. The original lighthouse accompanied by a two-story keeper's dwelling was completed in 1825. The tower stood thirty feet high, capped with an octagonal-shaped iron lantern. Due to deterioration the tower and keeper's house had to be replaced. Rebuilt in 1871, the tower now stands sixty feet high and has a spiral staircase of 69 steps which leads to an observation platform. (VG). $38.

 2590. [photo] Point Betsie Light-House, Frankfort, Mich. c.1910. Clear, close view includes the light tower and attached keeper’s dwelling as the keepers pose in the foreground. Printed on postcard paper, clear, crisp view shows great detail. Clean, crisp view 3 ½” x 5 ½”  stock. "AZO" paper. Light soil and one bent corner. (VG). $78 net.

SE-01. [photos] Light-House Keeper Photos Michigan City Lighthouse 1910. Michigan City Lighthouse, Indiana c.1910. Set of two photographs taken by 2nd Assistant Light Keeper Fred Dykeman show the keeper's dwelling and the keepers digging a utility trench to the dwelling. The larger photo measures 5" x 7" and shows family members posed in front of the 1858 dwelling in good detail. On the left is 1st Assistant Keeper Thomas Martin and his wife Lottie. On the right is Anna, the wife of 2nd Assistant Keeper Dykeman. The photo was taken by 2nd Assistant Keeper Dykeman. Second photo is on postcard paper, 3 " x 5 ", and shows the two keepers and other workers digging a utility trench for a drain from the south side of the building. Keeper Dykeman is on the far right with the shovel and Keeper Thomas Armstrong stands next to him. The back of the card is written to "John" by Keeper Dykeman and signed "Fred Dykenam, 2nd Assistant Light Keeper". Card is postmarked 1910 and in his massage he mentions their tasks of cutting wood, and that tomorrow they will be pulling the station boat up out of the water. Dykeman was keeper here from 1909 until 1915. There are a few light creases to larger photo but both are quite clean, clean and crisp. This is a superb documentary of the family and life at this Indiana light station. (VG). $125.

Copy Negative Sets

Herbert Bamber Collection

of the  United States Lighthouse Establishment

 The original photographs from which these negatives were made, were taken by Herbert Bamber, a civil engineer for the US Light-House Establishment during the period 1880-1910. Mr. Bamber supervised construction of many light stations across the country including Mosquito Inlet Light in  Florida . During the period 1892-93, Mr. Bamber traveled the entire country surveying and photographing the light stations for the LH Establishment files. The original photos that he took are today in the National Archives and you can see many reproduced in  lighthouse references. However, Mr. Bamber made an extra print of each photograph for his own files and these photographs were found in his barn in the Midwest a few years ago. These were original photographs, hand printed at the lighthouse location in 1892-93. You will note that many of these views show the keeper or his family posed, as photographers were somewhat rare and special.

These rare early views were from a process known as cyanotype, named for one chemical, cyan, that is used, thus the blue/white coloring rather than the traditional black/white. Most photographs printed in this manner show considerable detail. The process was commonly used in the field, and by amateurs at home during the period 1880-1920 because of its relative ease compared to other chemical processes.   

We re-photographed the entire collection and offer here the large format copy negatives made from his photographs. Negatives measure 2 ¼” x 3” and show great detail of the light towers, buildings and in many cases the keepers and their families. Regarding the following stations, we have the below listed negatives available:

  Superior Pier Light, MI. 2 negatives available $70,  Duluth ,  MN . 4 negatives available $140, Two Harbors, MN. 4 negatives available $140,  Devils Island ,  WI . 4 negatives available $140, Outer  Island ,  WI . 5 negatives available $175,  Port Washington ,  WI . 4 negatives available $140.

Discounts available for quantity purchases – please inquire.

22133. [stereoview] Lighthouse at Chicago "The Crib". (c.1874). By Copelin & Son, Chicago. Good detail of the capped tower and crib. View is bright but with some light soil, surface damage to one image. (G). $16.

23160. [stereoview] Lighthouse Oswego Harbor, New York. Superb, clear, close stereoview shows the tall masonry lighthouse on the wharf/breakwater in Oswego harbor. Close view gives good detail of the tower and lantern as well as the numerous sailing vessels behind. View by H. T. Anthony & Co, New York. Clean, crisp, near fine. (VG+). $128 net.

 

 

 

Page updated January 12, 2017

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