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Lighthouse log book from the Point Iroquois light station located on Lake Superior dated from 1908 to 1912.

Typical log book spine.

Log Books, Record of Fog Signal, Annual Property Returns and Record of Shipwreck are just some of the books or journals required to be filled out by the light keeper on a daily basis. Instructions were included with the books as to how to fill them out and what to report.

A log book recorded the general station events such as the weather, storms, times keepers left and returned and where they went, even births and deaths were recorded. Light keepers either wrote the minimum required or in some cases filled it out more than anyone could have imagined. One light keeper at the Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse wrote short stories in his log book. One story talked about owls landing on the lantern room railing and what the owl did for a while. Another log book from Waugashaunce was found to contain love notes written back and forth between a keepers daughter and one of the assistants possibly although no last names were specifically mentioned it is what can be assumed. One of the entries asks for her hand in marriage. Log books contain a general overall station history and are very insightful into the daily routine of light keeping.

When fog signals were activated a log book was kept of when it was sounded and any problems reported for instance. Again, details of the amount of fuel used and how long the station was sounding were important to properly budget for supplies such as wood or coal burned in the boilers to make the steam to sound the signal.

Annual Property Returns were used to do an inventory of the light station and see what was used during the year. Some stations were very remote and supplies were often limited to what was brought to the station on lighthouse tender ships. Keepers had to help plan on supplies for the entire year. They were filled out by the keeper and returned for evaluation.

Daily Expenditure Logs were also kept at each light station and for simple post lanterns located along rivers or piers. These log books noted how many lantern chimneys were used or broken during severe weather along with how much oil a lighthouse lantern burned during the night or week depending on the type of lantern used.

Other books were used in the service such as rules and regulations, medical books, instructions to light keepers, etc. Those books are referenced elsewhere in this site. More will be published here at a later time for these journals.

Log book entry from the Point Iroquois lighthouse. See enlarged sample.


Lighthouse Annual Property Return book. Used to document the inventory of the light station from candles to wicks, its all there. This one is from 1927 from the Point Aux Barques lighthouse located in Michigan's thumb.


Annual Property return sample page. See enlarged sample.

Listing of supplies for an entire light station was recorded in this book above. Everything from hammer and nails to the Fresnel lens was documented in this book. This is what every light station should have had on hand.

Two different style of Fog Signal Records are displayed above. This just denotes the changes that took place over time in the service. From the more generic on the left to the fancier on the right.

Copyright 2001-2003 Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/17/03
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