Inhabiting the Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse

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I’ve lived in Mentor, OH my entire life, except the four years of paradise I spent educating myself in Athens, OH. One of the greatest things about Mentor is the largest beach state parks called Headlands Beach. Although we’re just a suburb of the “Mistake-on-the-lake” we take pride in our green colored semi-clear lake. One of the best things to do at Headlands as teenagers was to walk along the breakwall all the way out the the lighthouse. The trek all the way out to the lighthouse didn’t really serve the purpose of going to see the lighthouse, but to jump off the breakwall into the water, but the lighthouse was always there. I couldn’t even tell you if that lighthouse actually functions as an actual lighthouse, I think it may have been used more so as a storage unit and for the past 21 years and some months I’ve looked at that lighthouse and I’ve never been inside the chain-link fence that surrounds it.

Two years ago, a woman in Pennsylvania purchased the lighthouse and began to renovate it. She purchased it in an auction and planned to live in it and would pay for the necessary construction to do so. She would take a boat to and from the shore when necessary and it would become her home.

Last Sunday, June 9th, she opened the lighthouse up to the public and to the media. I have never seen so many people walk that break wall before in my life. The walk out to the lighthouse is not an easy one and requires a few jumps and particular stepping as to not make the wrong step to fall down a crack or into the water and hundreds of people were going to the lighthouse. Old and young went to see the lighthouse that day and I made sure I got to go.

One of the joys of living at home again is doing things with my parents. I had walked that breakwall a million times with my parents when I was a kid, but never dodging so many people.

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Our journey beginning with standing in line waiting for people to climb down so we could climb up a ladder that was chained to the chain-link fence surrounding the lighthouse.

We darted around people excited to walk through the doors to find that her renovations were complete with 20th century charm. There is still much work to do in the lighthouse, but just being able to see the structure and the inside was remarkable.

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Spiral staircase leading to the third story and to the beacon.

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The proud homeowner’s bedroom and the homeowner herself.

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The top of the lighthouse.

When we first went to the third floor to go up to the I sent my phone up with my parents so they could get the best pictures possible because of my extreme fear of heights. I stood there and watched person after person cram up the smallest flight of stairs ever and was happy about my decision, until an elderly gentleman with an Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light shirt on looked at me and said, “Oh, you have to go up. It’s a once in a life time chance. There’s nothing like it.”

And there wasn’t anything like it.

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