One of South Haven’s first keepers was James S. Donahue, a veteran of the Civil War. After being shot in battle one of his legs was amputated. He requested a job with the lighthouse service, and to convince him to find employment elsewhere, they gave him the job of keeper at South Haven. They figured he would grow tired of walking out to the end of the pier to maintain the light. He did the job for over 35 years and made it to the light every night regardless of the weather and Lake Michigan storms.
The current light at the end of the south pier was built in 1903, the red steel structure, originally painted white, replaced the old wooden light that could not withstand the pounding of Lake Michigan’s unforgiving waves. I can only imagine the relentless storms coming off the lake in winter for over a 100 years, trying to take down this mighty beacon of hope, but it still remains resolute in its mission of guiding sailors and ships into South Haven. If you love lighthouses I hope you will take a look at my new Lighthouse book HERE
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