Presque Isle’s history is expansive, both naturally and culturally. If you find yourself eager to learn more about this rich history, we encourage you to check out those areas of interest and peruse the dozens of informational panels throughout the park.
Dedicated in 1926, the 103 ft. limestone monument honors the victory of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie at Put-In-Bay, Ohio. The Monument occupies a site known as Crystal Point at the entrance to Misery Bay. In 1963 major improvements at the Monument created a moat around the base with a series of lights. In 2002, the Presque Isle Partnership funded a series of exhibit panels detailing the story of the Battle of Lake Erie and the role the Niagara played in Erie History.
Presque Isle Lighthouse
Construction of the Presque Isle Lighthouse began in 1872 and was completed a year later when it came into operation as a navigational beacon for vessels in Lake Erie. The light source was an oil powered light cast through a fourth order Fresnel lens. The building is highlighted by brick walls five courses thick and the tower from the ground to the top of the tower is 68 ft. high. The tower at one time housed a fourth order Fresnel lens, but today the light is a fixed, flashing light controlled by a sensor.
In 2014, the Presque Isle Lighthouse was transitioned from a private residence for park staff to a public building for visitors. The purpose is to learn about the rich maritime history of Presque Isle Lighthouse. Public tours are available throughout the warmer months.
North Pier Light
Originally built in 1830, the North Pier Light is actually an aid-to-navigation and not a true lighthouse. After construction, the light has been moved twice as the north pier was extended. In 1857 the light was demolished by a sailing vessel caught in a storm and then rebuilt. The steel for the present light was fabricated in France and shipped here for assembly. The tower is 30 ft. tall and at one time housed a fourth order Fresnel lens, but today the light is a fixed, flashing red light controlled by a sensor.
The Waterworks area stretches from the lake to the bay and from Niagara Launch area to Fisher Drive. All early development of the park focused on this 175 acres of land. The city of Erie developed this area in search of a cleaner water source. In 1908, workers began placing a pipe from the lake to the “twin” settling basins. In 1917, the pumphouse was built, drawing lake water to the settling basins and then pumped across the bay to the city of Erie. This supply system operated until 1949 and the pumphouse currently is used as a Zebra Mussel control facility for Erie’s water supply as well as a surrey and bike rental concession. Today, the Waterworks remains a popular recreational site for a variety of park activities.