Peninsula's Maritime Heritage
Sailing vessels used two channels when navigating this part of Green Bay. The first was the western passage on the far side of Chambers Island. The second lies before you: the treacherous passage between the shore and the Strawberry Islands.
Economic growth and settlement in Door County depended on swift and secure water transportation. To guide ships safely through the narrow Strawberry Channel, the federal government built Eagle Bluff Lighthouse in 1868 for a cost of $12,000. The structure, made of cream-colored Milwaukee brick, is perched atop a 40-foot bluff. Keeper Henry Stanley illuminated the original third-and-one-half order Fresnel lens on October 15th, six months after construction began.
Ephraim native Sam Hanson served as Assistant Lighthouse Keeper at Chambers Island from 1909-1922. Clifford Hanson, standing right, died at age 18. He was walking across the ice in April, 1922, to fetch the mail in Fish Creek. Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Keeper Peter Coughlin helplessly watched the boy fall through.
From the log of Lighthouse Keeper Peter Coughlin
10 April 1922
The Hanson boy drowned in the channel near Fish Creek. I tried my best to save him. Had to walk to Fish Creek for help, the telephone out of order.
12 April 1922
Keeper lit the light in the tower tonight for a small boat going to Chambers Island to to get Sam Hanson the assistant there to attend his boys funeral.
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Keepers ? Tenure
Henry Stanley 1868 - 1883
?? Born in Norway. Mines for gold in California, 1849. Marries German Katherine Hesh. Twelve-year-old son John dies in 1870. Daughter Elizabeth dies in 1881.
William Duclon 1883 - 1918
?? Born in New York. Serves in Company K of the 14th New York Regiment Heavy Artillery, Civil War. Marries Julia Davenport, of Ottawa ancestry. Seven sons. Many Duclons are buried in Blossomburg Cemetery, located in Peninsula State Park.
Peter Coughlin 1919 - 1926
?? Born in Canada. Marries widow Margaret Sullivan while serving as keeper at Alperia, Michigan. Assumes duties at Eagle Bluff at age 62.
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