Ohio January 21, 2019
Few People Know The Mysterious History Of Ohio’s Lost Island
By now, you’ve likely learned that Ohio is home to several islands. (Be sure to check out
this list.) But you’ve likely never heard of Turtle Island. Long-forgotten, slowly shrinking and reclaimed by nature, this abandoned island has an intriguing history most Ohioans aren’t familiar with. It’s hiding in Lake Erie, just a few miles from Maumee Bay.
***Please note: Trespassing on Turtle Island is prohibited and dangerous. Do not attempt to explore it.
What was once a hunting ground for the Miami Indians, an island occupied by the British, a popular picnic destination and a highly disputed territory is now an abandoned island few people know about.
Turtle Island is believed to be named after the Miami tribe's Chief Little Turtle. It is unclear how long this small island was occupied by the British, but both Atlas Obscura and The Toldeo Blade report that it was first occupied by the British in 1794.
The abandoned Turtle Island Lighthouse was built in the mid-1800s for the Port of Toledo. Over the years, storms damaged the lighthouse and it was officially closed in the early 1900s.
Today, all that reminds of the lighthouse is a 42-ft. square stone tower without the lantern room. The Toledo Harbor Light was constructed in 1904 and continues to operate today.
Over the years, dispute over which state the island belonged to developed into The (bloodless) Toledo War—serving as proof that Ohio and Michigan have long since disputed over much more than just football.
For many years, the island belonged to both states, with the lighthouse portion belonging to Ohio.
The dispute was finally settled in 1973. It was determined that the boundary line between Ohio and Michigan in Lake Erie was angled to the northeast, rather than straight across, making Turtle Island Ohio's island.
(Take that, *ichigan.)
Today, erosion continues to shrink the island. What was once more than 6 acres of land is now about 1.5 acres. It was rumored that vacation homes were going to be built on Turtle Island but no progress was ever made.
Turtle Island remains a unique piece of Ohio's past, seeing its fair share of history over the years.
Did you know about this island? What do you think? Share your thoughts with us!
For more islands in Ohio, check out our previous article:
Here Are 8 Islands In Ohio That Are An Absolute Must Visit.