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Mamajuda Lighthouse, 1849 - ?

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Postby NoahG » Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:18 pm


The Mamajuda Light, perhaps one of the better known of all the past and present Detroit River lights, also seems to be one of hardest to get accurate info on.

Mamajuda Light was established in 1849. It took the form of a simple wooden structure, typical of the period, on pilings, with a bird cage lantern. An image of this Light can be found in either the book The Golden Age of American Lighthouses, or Lost Lighthouses, both by Harrison & Jones (I cannot remember which book, they are in Detroit, I am not). This light was then replaced in 1866 by a structure that was a virtual twin to the still standing structure at Mission Point.
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Lighthouse Digest.

It was decided in 1894 that the Mamajuda Light should be turned into a range. Thus, a pyramidal wooden tower was built on pilings. A picture of this light can be found in the book, Reliving Lighthouse Memories by Sandy Planisek. It's a book I highly recommend if you don't already own it. I am currently unsure as to when this front light was disestablished.

The main light was then in turn replaced in 1910 with a structure that included an integral cylindrical tower. A style that as far as I know was unique to this structure.
Image
Lighthouse Digest

It seems that this light was either struck by a ship and replace, or simply left standing, while it found its job replaced by a simple skeletal tower, which took place at some point between 1920-1922. I am unsure exactly when as I have read opposing dates. At any rate, the island was eaten away by erosion until by the 1970's nothing existed but its shoals. However, a light still continued to shine on Mamajuda shoals, supposedly from that same skeletal tower. It seems the Mamajuda Light lasted until at least 1995, when it too was disestablished and then at some point dismantled. What remains, along with the shoals, visible in low water, is the pictorial mystery of what Mamajuda Light's final form was. At this point there is a 70 some odd year gap without a photo that I know of documenting its form.
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Postby Terry_Pepper » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:26 pm


Noah, I will send you an email tomorrow about Mamajuda with some info you might find of interest.
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Postby NoahG » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:35 pm


Thanks Terry, I'll be looking forward to it.
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Postby JDub » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:00 am


From my research, Mamajuda was discontinued about 1917 when improvements were made to Detroit River. The Fighting Island Channel was created to straighten this part of Detroit River. Starting with the Ecorse Range, North & South Grassy Island Ranges, Mamajuda Range and Grosse Isle North Range lights were all taken out of service. The Ecorse front range light (sans light) was sent North to Tawas Point and served as assistant keeper's quarters untill 2000.

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Postby NoahG » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:20 pm


OH MY GOD. The now-demolished assistant keepers dwelling at Tawas was the old Ecorse Front Range light?!?! I knew I never liked them knocking it down in the first place, but as a resident of southeastern Michigan who has already lost so much of our lighthouse history, I feel outraged. Argh I'd like to slap somebody.
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Postby CHUCKX53 » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:41 am


I was also unaware that this house had been moved to Tawas….Does anyone know if the Ecorse FR light was once an integral part of the structure ? In any case, I always felt that someone had dropped the ball when the house was taken down…The first two times I was at Tawas, it was still standing, and from what I could see, looked structurally sound…So, I was at a loss to understand why it was gone on subsequent visits there…
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Postby JDub » Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:47 am


The Lighthouse service was actually very good at Re-using parts. The Stairs and latern room from Gibraltar lighthouse Detroit River are now at the South Bass Island lighthouse. The sixth-order lights of the Maumee middle range lights were sent north to Ecorse range lights. When the Improvements made to Detroit River the Ecorse front range dwelling was moved North to Tawas (without light tower). I'm sure these are only a few. Mr. Terry Pepper probably could give us lots or stories of where some of the older lights ended up. When I last visited Tawas, it was said that dwelling next to lighthouse was torn down because of lead paints, Asbestos, and plain old economics.

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