The Loneliest Place In North America Is In Michigan
It’s 24 miles from the nearest land, and the only reason it is there is because of a shallow reef in the midst of Lake Superior. The lone building is called the Stannard Rock Lighthouse and had the nickname “The Loneliest Place in the World”.
The “crib” foundation of the lighthouse is rated as one of the top engineering feats in the United States. It is the most distant lighthouse from the shore of any lighthouse in the United States.
So Why Is It In The Middle Of Nowhere?
The lone lighthouse appears as just a speck on the horizon when traveling across Lake Superior. Why in the world would a lighthouse be needed in the middle of the largest of the Great Lakes? Lake Superior is 350 miles long and 160 miles wide at its greatest width. It’s just wide, open water, as far as you can see.
But you’re wrong. According to Wikipedia, The Stannard Rock Reef is 24 miles offshore, and 44 miles north of Marquette, Michigan. This underwater mountain extends for 0.25 miles with depths as shallow as 4 feet. It was discovered in 1835 by Captain Charles C. Stannard of the vessel John Jacob Astor. It was considered the greatest danger to navigation on Lake Superior.
Artist Frederick Gutekunst Depicts Stannard Rock Lighthouse in 1882
Life Inside Of The Dismal Lighthouse
To be a lighthouse keeper at Stannard Rock Reef was not a glorious occupation. The outpost was grim, manned by the keeper and his three assistants. They would work three-week shifts. In early winter, the waves of Lake Superior would splash against the stone tower, building a layer of ice that forced maintenance crews to hack away ice from around the door, in order to reach the men. If an emergency occurred, it would take days or even weeks for keepers to get help.
In 1962, after an explosion at the lighthouse killed one keeper and left three men stranded for three days on the concrete base of the pier, the Coast Guard decided that the lighthouse was too remote and dangerous. It was repaired and then automated and remains an active aid to navigation in the treacherous waters of Lake Superior.