What would Charles Waldo say today?
Around 4 million people a year visit Presque Isle, which extends into Lake Erie from Erie, PA. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Pennsylvania.
Yet Waldo, the first keeper of the Presque Isle Lighthouse, said the lighthouse was the loneliest place on earth.
Before we suspect Wade of hyperbole, let's consider life when he became the first lighthouse keeper in 1872.
Sailing on Lake Erie directly to the lighthouse was treacherous. So treacherous that building materials were not offloaded on the shore by the lighthouse. Instead, resources were shipped to Misery Bay on the other side the isle, then hauled through swampy land to the lighthouse location
That right. A bay called "Misery" was preferable to the lighthouse shore.
To visit the lighthouse, guests would have to acquire a rowboat in Erie, PA. Then row across Misery Bay to the Presque Isle Lighthouse boat house. Once the boat was moored, the guests would have to walk 1 1/2 miles through the swamp on a haphazardly placed boardwalk to get to the lighthouse.
Lonely, indeed. It's no wonder that there was one visitor the day the lighthouse opened.
It took a while, but Presque Isle lost its lonely feeling. In 1927 Presque Isle Lighthouse Keeper Andrew Shaw, jr., abruptly quit 26 years of distinguished service. Why? Too many visitors were attracted to the lighthouse, which had become a state park in 1921.
More light is shed in Presque Isle and the Presque Isle Lighthouse at the following sites...