1901-1928

Location & historical notes: Michigan, on northern Lake Michigan, west of the Straights of Mackinac and northwesterly from Garden Island.  The station was replaced by the Lansing Shoal Lighthouse.

Lightships assigned:

1901-1920: LV-55

YEAR BUILT: 1891

BUILT AT: Toledo (OH)

BUILDER: Blythe Craig Shipbuilding Co

APPROPRIATION: $60,000
(Approp for 3 ships - Simmons Reef White Shoal, and Grays Reef)

CONTRACT PRICE: $14,225 ($42, 675 for 3 shins)

SISTER VESSELS: LV 56,57

DESIGN: Wood framed & planked; white oak fastened with 5/8" square iron spikes;
2 masts, daymark on foremast; spencer mast aft of main for riding sail; stack on
deckhouse amidships

LENGTH: 102'8" (loa); BEAN: 20'; DRAFT: 8'9"; TONNAGE: 129 gross

PROPULSION: Steam screw-one single cylinder, non-condensing engine, 14" bore x 16" stroke, 100 IHF; fire-tube boiler 5'dia x 9'lg 100 psi; max speed 8 knots

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: Cluster of 3 oil burning lens lanterns hoisted to each masthead

FOG SIGNAL: 6" steam whistle, hand operated bell

CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: LV 55

-One of three vessels- designed for use only during the navigation season on the Great Lakes, as an experiment to avoid the high initial and recurring costs for a permanent lighthouse. Maintenance and operating cost for each lightship was estimated at $4,000 per year. Each had enough power for getting to and from station. Mooring, consisting of a 5 ton sinker and 15 fathoms of 2 inch chain was pre-positioned permanently and buoyed, eliminating the need (and cost) for the lightship to carry mushrooms and chain.
-Upon delivery, many construction defects were found during sea trials, and many interior modifications had to be made for comfort of the crew
-This and 2 sister vessels were first US lightships to be self-propelled by machinery
-1891: Masts were found unnecessarily long; shortened during winter layup
-1893: Fog bell added
-1906: Equipped with submarine bell signal

STATION ASSIGNMENTS: LV 55
1891-1900: Simmons Reef (MI)
1901-1920: Lansing Shoal (MI)
(Simmons Reef station discontinued Dec 10, 1900 at close of navigation season)
(Lansing Shoal station established Jul 10, 1901)

HISTORICAL NOTES: LV 55
-1891: Sep 14/15, turned over to Lighthouse Establishment at Detroit M1)
- 1891: Oct 2,5,6, sea trials conducted, many defects noted
-1891: Oct 19, Departed Detroit, reaching Port Huron in evening
-1891: Oct 20, LV 55,56 & 57 using their own power to assist were taken in tow by tender DAHLIA, making 9 knots; laid over at Sand Beach Harbor of Refuge due to bad weather
-1891: Oct 24, placed on Simmons Reef (MI), northerly end of Lake Michigan
-1891: Nov 17-20, left station without orders and put into Cheboygan (MI); crew discharged for dereliction of duty and replaced with others "more trustworthy"; replaced by tender DAHLIA Nov 22, remaining on station until close of navigation at which time went into winter Quarters at Cheboygan. Many deficiencies due to missing, incomplete, etc., or faulty equipment were corrected during winter and masts were shortened
-1892: Apr 14, picked up mooring and resumed station
-1892-1900: Wintered at Cheboygan (MI), being withdrawn Dec thru Mar then resuming station in early April each year. Needed repairs were made while in winter quarters


More notes: LV 55
-1896: Fog signal characteristic changed to give 5 sec blasts followed by 55 sec silent intervals
-1898: Boiler repairs and smokestack replaced
-1900: Dec 10, withdrawn from Simmons Reef; station discontinued
-1901: Jul 10, transferred to Lansing Shoal (MI) by joint resolution of Congress
-1901-1907, Wintered at Cheboygan (MI), (Sturgeon Bay WI in 1906) during the period, being on station from Mar/Apr through Nov/Dec each year
-1901: Extensive rot discovered in frames and planking; all unsound timbers and planking replaced, hull recaulked and painted; one mast replaced
-Remained assigned to Lansing Shoal until 1920 Sep 15, then laid up

RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1920; AGE: 29

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: Sold Feb 15, 1922 - $840

COMMANDING OFFICERS: LV 55

1893-1902: Michael Mclntire, Master
?-1913: Alfred Hanson, Nate
1913-1914: Andrew Gallagher, Mate
1915-1916: Olaf K Andersen, Mate
1916-1917: John W Barrand, Mate
1917-1918: Edward A Hansen Mate
1918: Hugh H Boyle, Mate
1919: Elias Garrett, Mate
1919-1920: Elias Garrett, Master
1919-1920: Daniel P McCauley, Nate

1920-1928: LV-98 / WAL-521

YEAR BUILT: 1915

BUILT AT: Muskegon (MI)

BUILDER: Racine-Truscott-Shell Lake Boat Co

APPROPRIATION: None
(Paid from USLHS general appropriation Aug 16, 1912)

CONTRACT PRICE: $87,025

SISTER VESSELS: LV 96 / WAL 520

DESIGN: Self-propelling; steel whaleback hull; one large diameter tubular lantern mast amidships; steel pilot/chart house forward

LENGTH: 101' 0" (loa); BEAM: 23'6"; DRAFT: 11'0"; TONNAGE: 195 displ, fresh water

PROPULSION: One 4-cylinder Mietz & Weiss kerosene engine, 10' bore x 12' stroke, 100 IHP, propeller 4' dia; speed approx 5-6 knots

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: Large cylindrical lantern housing with electric lamp and revolving parabolic reflector giving 1000 cp flash, 42 ft above water

FOG SIGNAL: 6" air siren; hand operated bell; siren operated by two 3 cylinder compressors driven by kerosene engines

CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS: LV 98-
1915: When built, equipped with 2 kerosene engine generator sets and storage
batteries for powering the light and motor driven reflector-
1916: Submarine bell signal added-
1927: Equipped with radiobeacon-
1930: Cylindrical lantern housing removed, replaced with duplex 375mm electric
lens lantern mounted in masthead gallery, 13,OOOcp-
193?: Fog signal changed to air diaphragm horn (17" Leslie typhon)-
1945: Repowered with Cooper Bessemer 315HP diesel, 5'6" dia propeller, max
speed 6 knots-
Radio and visual call sign NMGO (1940-1955)

STATION ASSIGNMENTS: LV 98 / WAL 521
1915-1918: Buffalo (NY)
1919-1920: Relief (12th District)
1920-1928: Lansing Shoal (MI)
1929: Relief (12th District)
1930-1951: Handkerchief Shoal (MA)
1951-1955: Relief (MA)

(Buffalo station discontinued 1918)
(Lansing shoal station discontinued 1928 Oct 6)
(1942-1945 During WWII, remained on Handkerchief station; no armament provided)


HISTORICAL NOTES: LV 98 / WAL 521-
1914: Jun 9, launched at the contractor's yard-
1915: Feb 8-12, inspected in advance of sea trials; sea trials carried out in March, final tests completed and delivered by contractor Mar 29-
1915: Jun 12, placed on Buffalo (NY) station, Lake Erie, 13 miles off entrance to Buffalo Harbor; red hull lettered "Buffalo" in white, sho win~ flashing white light. As with all Great Lakes lightships, vessel was withdrawn from station during the period the Lakes were closed to navigation, usually Nov/Dec through Mar/Apr each year. Necessary repairs were performed while the vessel was in in winter quarters-
After Relief assignment 1919-1920, placed on Lansing Shoal Sep 20, 1920-
1928: Struck by passing steamers in heavy fog Jul 8 and Aug 4-
1928: Oct 6, withdrawn from Lansing Shoal, station discontinued-
Thereafter served as indicated under Station Assignments


RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1955; AGE: 40

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: Decommissioned Jan 18, 1955; sold Jul 28, 1955


COMMANDING OFFICERS: LV 98 / WAL 521

1915-1916: Melvin Carpenter, Master
1915: John Davis, Mate
1915-1916: George Jackson, Mate
1916-1919: George Jackson, Master
1917-1918: Joseph Frawley, Mate
1918-1919: Edward A Hansen, Mate
1919-1920: Edward A Hansen, Master
1919: Richard D Baxter, Mate
1920-?: Elias Garrett, Master
1920-?: Daniel A Garrett, Mate
?-1936: George Braithwaite, Master
1936-1937: William J Collins, Mate
1937-1938: Clifford Anderson, Mate
1947-1951: CWO A J LeBlanc, CO
1951-1952: BMC Gerald Robinson, OIC

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