The Perry Monument was built in honor of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry who fought in the War of 1812 against Great Britain. During the war, Perry commanded the US Navy in Lake Erie. His own ship, the Lawrence, was destroyed, but on September 10, 1813, he took his new ship, the Niagara, and successfully defeated the British, preventing them from advancing down the Ohio Valley. Perry is called the "Hero of Lake Erie" because of his achievement. Interestingly, the Battle of Lake Erie was the only significant ship battle in the war. The monument itself is situated on its own little peninsula, so it is a great area to view the monument, as well as to watch the boats and look at the water. Near the monument, they offer boat tours, as well.
The Tom Ridge Environmental Center is an interesting building of exhibits that display the history, culture, and wildlife of Lake Erie and Presque Isle. When you enter, it is best to watch the 15 minute video that will tell you and show you Presque Isle. After that, the other exhibits focus mainly on the widlife and plant life that you will find on Presque Isle. There are also exhibits that teach you about the history of Presque Isle and how important it has been for the citizens of Erie. There is a special learning area for children however, I think the entire building is a great place for children to learn and enjoy it. They have their own gift shop and cafe, but touring the building, watching the videos, and looking at the exhibits are all completely free, which makes it a great experience! It is open at 10:00, 7 days a week. If you wish to schedule a guided tour, you must call the number that I've provided to schedule the tour.
The Presque Isle Lighthouse was built in 1872, and actually began being used on July 12, 1873. The lighthouse is often disappointing to tourists, because you cannot actually enter the lighthouse. This is because it is someone's residence. The lighthouse is best viewed from the beach, and even though you cannot enter the lighthouse or take a tour, it is still a nice landmark to admire as you walk along the beach!
On the beautiful summer day that we visited Misery Bay it looked idyllic - anything but miserable. It was to this spot, once called Little Bay, that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and his ships and men returned after their victorious Battle of Lake Erie. They came here to repair their fleet, and to seek medical treatment for the wounded.
Perry and his crew stayed in the protection of the bay during the winters of 1812 -1814, suffering from poor living conditions and harsh winters. Many of the men died, and their bodies were buried in the adjacent pond known as Graveyard Pond. Because of their hardships, and in remembrance of those who did not survive, Little Bay was renamed Misery Bay by the sailors.
Today Perry's Monument overlooks Misery Bay, which is a summer haunt of picnickers and boaters.
During the War of 1812, Little Bay was the temporary home of the fleet of ships commanded by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. The sheltered waters of Presque Isle offered protection to the fleet during construction. The Perry Monument on Crystal Point, was built in 1926 to commemorate the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813, when Perry and his men defeated the British at Put-in-Bay, near Sandusky, Ohio.
This is a beautiful spot, about half way along the 14-mile loop road which encircles Presque Isle. Educational exhibits near the monument are interesting and informative.
"The Lady Kate," a 65-foot, 110 passenger vessel, provides visitors with an opportunity to take a 14-mile, 90-minute tour around Presque Isle Bay and onto the open waters of Lake Erie. Tours operate from May through September. Karen and I decided to save this for our next visit to Presque Isle, since we were limited in time. For more details on the tours click on the web link below.
This old square metal pierhead has been guiding ships into Erie Harbor since 1858, but not always from this exact spot. The 30-foot tower has been moved twice, the last move in the 1940s, when it was placed at its present location. Earlier it stood on the grounds of the US Life Saving Station, just east of the current US Coast Guard Station.
The tower was reconstructed in 1940 and boxed in with heavy steel plating. It was originally fitted with a fourth-order Fresnel lens, but now displays a fixed flashing red light emitted by a modern plastic lens. Not very romantic - but that's progress.
The concrete pierhead leading out to the light is a popular spot for fishermen.
The Presque Isle Lighthouse was built in 1872, and first lit on July 12, 1873. It is an imposing 57-foot tower with a red brick dwelling at the base. Visits to the lighthouse are limited to observation from outside it's encircling fence, because the dwelling is currently used to house the superintendent of the state park.
This is still an active light station, but these days the original fourth-order Fresnel lens has been replaced with an automated electric light, maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. An educational exhibit is located adjacent to the property.