Indiana November 20, 2018
The Lighthouse Road Trip On The Indiana Coast That’s Dreamily Beautiful
You don’t need an ocean to have a coast. The Great Lakes are so vast, they are practically little oceans themselves, and they give surrounding states the best lake coasts in the world. For a scenic journey of Indiana’s claim to the lakes, take this lighthouse road trip through the northeast corner of the state.
Whether you love history, architecture, nautical attractions, or all of the above, this lighthouse road trip will be right up your alley Check it out:
Lasting a bit more than an hour and spanning 43.5 miles, this road trip to Indiana's lake coast lighthouses is a marvelous and scenic drive. These are just five of about 50 lighthouses that surround Lake Michigan.
for an adjustable map of this fabulous road trip.
1. Indiana Harbor East Breakwater Lighthouse
The explosion of industry in the early 1900s increased the need for steel, and it influenced many manufacturing companies to build shop along the Grand Calumet River and Lake Michigan. In 1907, those who owned the harbor asked the government to build a lighthouse, but the board for those types of decisions determined it was not necessary, so it had to be privately built. This lighthouse in particular has undergone many changes over the years. It started as a skeletal structure around 1911 but was upgraded to concrete and brick between 1914 and 1923 after the government decided to take responsibility. In 1929, the lights were upgraded from oil to electricity.
Though this lighthouse was demolished in the 1980s, travelers can still see the mark it left on history as there is a concrete cylinder tower still in place. In its prime, the lighthouse was 20 feet high and contained rooms for coal and oil storage, four bedrooms, a bath, and ample deck space.
2. Buffington Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse
Every Hoosier knows that Indiana has a great deal of limestone beneath its earth. Utilizing this resource as well as the materials made at the nearby steel companies, the government opened a concrete plant that was once the world's largest with a daily output of 23,000 barrels of the stuff. To facilitate transportation, Bluffinton Harbor was opened in 1927. It includes a 2,000-foot pier and a 1,200-foot breakwater, at the end of which sits the lighthouse.
The lighthouse itself is visible for 13 to 14 miles and is a conical-style structure. It is 55-feet tall and also has a fog signal.
3. Gary Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse
The story of the lighthouse is also the story of Gary, Indiana. Due to the increase in industry in the Midwest and the need to house workers, the city was built. In order to get materials to a steel plant, a large slip was created around 1906 to accommodate the largest steam liners in the country. At the end of an L-shaped breakwater the Gary Lighthouse was built.
The lighthouse is 30 feet tall and made of steel plates, You can't tell from this old photo from 1915, but it is actually all red. A fog signal was added in 1913. It was removed for a short time in 2017 to be refurbished but is now back in its original place.
4. Michigan City East Pierhead Lighthouse
A real estate developer decided he wanted to build the first harbor on Lake Michigan in the 1830s. This resulted in the town of Michigan City in 1836 and its lighthouse was completed the following year. Congress approved about $8,000 for the project, and even more funds were awarded over the years as repairs and upgrades were needed. The structure pictured here is actually the second lighthouse for the city.
5. Old Michigan City Lighthouse
This is the original lighthouse that served Michigan City. Today it is a historical structure you can visit to learn all about Indiana's industrial history. It opened in 1973 after eight years of restoration. It is 39 feet tall and is 14 feet by seven feet at the base and six feet by 11 feet at the lantern room. Nicknamed "Old Faithful," this structure is one of the most photo-worthy spots on our lighthouse road trip. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As a bonus to this lighthouse road trip, start or end your trip with the Calumet Harbor Lighthouse, which has a long and fascinating history. It was built in 1851 but its light was extinguished in 1855 due to sailors’ complaints that it was dangerous to have without a harbor and was easily mistakable for Chicago. It was not reactivated until 1873. Like many of the previously mentioned lighthouses, this one has undergone a wealth of repairs and updates over the years. Learn more about this and all the lighthouses that surround Lake Michigan on
For more fun with the Great Lakes, check out these
18 stunning photos that prove the oceans have nothing on Lake Michigan.
If you’ve ever seen any of the sights along this lighthouse road trip, we’d love to hear from you. Please share your experiences and photos with us below in the comments.