Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lighthouses of Arizona!

     There are some surprising sights found around this Grand Canyon state known as Arizona. There is the sight of Rocky the Green Frog near Congress, the World Smallest Museum in Superior and of course, the world famous “The Thing” found along I-10 near Dragoon.  But just maybe the most surprising sights you can see in our state best known for its Grand Canyon and dry desert landscapes are the 19 functioning lighthouses that are found warning boats of the surprisingly dangerous shorelines of Lake Havasu.  Yep, 19 real, functioning lighthouses and all modeled after famous lighthouses found around the United States and Canada.
    Lake Havasu City, located on the shore of Lake Havasu, is probably best known as the home of London Bridge or for the huge gathering of Spring Break students looking to enjoy the cool waters and many recreational activities that the Colorado River offers.  But now this series of unique and beautiful lighthouses found along the 40-miles of shoreline of Lake Havasu gives us all another good reason to enjoy all the beauty and cool, water fun of this Arizona river front city.
    The idea for the lighthouses around Lake Havasu began in 2000 when local resident became concerned about the many nighttime accidents that were occurring on the lake.  The Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club, a non-profit group under the leadership of resident Bob Keller, was organized and convinced local boaters of the need for navigational lights on Lake Havasu.  And, wouldn’t it be an interesting twist if those navigational lights were built in the form of smaller replicas of famous lighthouses?
    The idea of replica lighthouses sold all doubters and the building and placement of Lake Havasu’s first lighthouse, modeled after West Quoddy, Maine, was erected in 2002.  Now a total of 24 replica lighthouses are found along the shoreline and near dangerous rock outcroppings on both the Arizona and California sides of the lake.
    Lighthouses on the Arizona side of the lake are replicas of real lighthouses found along the East Coast.  On the California side of the lake, the lighthouses are facsimiles of lighthouses found on the West Coast.  Along, the northern part of the lake, the lighthouses are reproductions of those found on the Great Lakes.  Twelve of the lighthouses can be found on Grant Island, the island accessed by traveling across London Bridge.
    One currently operating replica is modeled after the 193-foot tall Cape Catteras, North Carolina lighthouse that is the tallest lighthouse found in the United States.  The Lake Havasu replica is only 30 feet tall and it too is the tallest lighthouse found around the lake.
    Each replica lighthouse cost about $5000 to build, equip and erect.  Funds for many of the 24 already built lighthouses have come as family memorials for departed love ones.  The United States Coast Guard has designated some 36 appropriate sites for these important lighthouses, so the work and effort continues to complete this critical safety project.
    Thanks to the effort of the women and men of the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club, Lake Havasu City now claims the title of the “American City with the most Lighthouses”. The club’s website has a wonderful interactive map (http://lh-lighthouseclub.org/) showing the location of each lighthouses along with an abundance of interesting information.
    When all the Lake Havasu lighthouses are built, Arizona will then surpass Michigan as the state with the most lighthouses!  And if that is not a surprising and amazing Arizona fact, we don’t know one!
    So if you are looking to enjoy some cool water fun this summer, get out and travel to “Arizona’s Coastline” at Lake Havasu City.  Enjoy all the recreational activities found along the Colorado River and discover for yourself the many lighthouses now found in our Arizona.

Links: http://www.lh-lighthouseclub.org/; Lake Havasu Visitor Center - http://www.golakehavasu.com/activities/boating/lighthouses.aspx

All Pictures belong to Bruce Howe, current president of the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club


Split Rock, MN

Main Buffalo, NY

East Quoddy, NB, Canada

Desert Rock, ME

Currituck, NC

Cape Hatteras, NC

Berwick, LA

Alpena, MI

Gray's Harbor, WA

Algoma, WI

White Shoals, MI w/ Bob Keller



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