Friday, June 07, 2013

Frank Ritter: Keeper of the Cedar Point Light

Frank Ritter served as the keeper of the Cedar Point Light from 1892 until his retirement on July 1, 1929. From mid 1890s until 1903, the Ritter family lived in a small house which stood on a crib about a quarter mile off shore, surrounded by water. Mr. Ritter, his wife, and two children lived in this small home, upon which was a range light, from the months of March through December.

 During the harsh winter months, the family lived at the Cedar Point Lighthouse on the mainland.

According to an article by Karl Kurtz, in his “Elderlies” column, in the May 21, 1977 issue of the Sandusky Register, lighthouse keeping in the Cedar Point area was very time consuming. There were inner range lights, outer range lights, beacon lights, and many others. Before electricity the lights had to be filled with oil and the wicks trimmed. The lighthouse keeper had to reach each of these lights via a boat. On the boat, Frank Ritter saved the lives of over thirty individuals who found themselves in rough lake waters. He had to keep a watch for distress flares from vessels out on the Sandusky Bay, even during storms and in the dark of night. 

After Mr. Ritter’s retirement, his son in law Henry Waibel took over as the Cedar Point Lighthouse keeper.   

An excellent article about the Cedar Point Lighthouse is found in the October 7, 1990 issue of the Sandusky Register, now on microfilm. The article reported that an act of Congress for the appropriation of a beacon light near the entrance of Sandusky Bay took place in 1837. In 1862, a limestone structure was built on the mainland of Cedar Point, replacing an earlier structure. The 1862 Cedar Point lighthouse is now a part of Lighthouse Point, at the Cedar Point amusement park. It is the oldest structure on the Cedar Point peninsula.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view several articles about Frank Ritter and the Cedar Point Lighthouse in the historical files.

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