- Look for other changes coming this summer
- Catch a rainbow, watch a storm moving in
MARBLHEAD – On Dec. 23, a major winter storm hit Ottawa County, blanketing its towns with snow. While thousands of children were wondering what they would soon find under the Christmas tree, many adults had something else on their mind.
They were wondering what the Marblehead Lighthouse looked like while winter was being so fiercely powerful at the park.
Their curiosity was the impetus that drove Shores and Islands Ohio and the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society to partner with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in an effort to bring a webcam to Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. By Feb. 16, the webcam was installed and operational, making it the eighth webcam hosted by Shores and Islands.
Lighthouse fans wanted to see the building after the December storm
“This started after the snowstorm. The wind was pushing all the water out. It was a neat thing to see,” said Christopher Lewis, marketing and sales director for Shores and Islands Ohio. “We had a lot of enquiries from people who wanted to see the lighthouse, and the historical society got requests. The historical society contacted us about getting a webcam, and in less than a month, we were able to make it happen.”
Shores and Islands hosts webcams across the Lake Erie region, including cameras at Lakeside, Catawba, Put-in-Bay and Port Clinton City Beach. The webcam page is viewable at shoresandislands.com.
“This is something we started years ago,” Lewis said. “We set them up to show off the destinations. Even though you can’t be here in person, you can still see what’s going on.”
Installing a webcam at the lighthouse had been on Shores and Islands’ wish list for a long time, but poor internet service prevented the project from going through. For years, the historical society struggled to find workable internet service, but this year, AT&T wireless broadband became available to them.
Historical society upgrades its internet allowing for a web cam and more
“In December, we upgraded our internet service,” said Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society President Tom Hartman.
The upgrade will bring other big changes to the park this summer, including the ability to accept credit card payments for lighthouse tours.
“Our ultimate goal was to be able to accept credit cards at the tower because we’ve been turning people away who didn’t have cash,” Tom said. “So anybody who was discouraged by that − we’d like to have them back.”
Hartman’s wife, Sue Hartman, serves as the historical society’s secretary. She said the webcam and the internet upgrade were funded through tour and gift shop sales, brick sales and donations, as were the lifesaving station and the new restrooms.
“This is another example of us reinvesting in the park. If you purchase something, the money stays in the park,” Sue said. “The webcam, the decorations at Christmas, the restrooms and lifesaving station were all due to the generous support.”
The webcam is attracting a lot of attention for the lighthouse.
“Every time I say something about the webcam on Facebook, people ask how to see it,” Sue said.
Shores and Island Ohio purchased the webcams and pays the monthly maintenance fee to streaming partner Pixelcaster. The location sites provide internet service and maintenance. Lewis and the Hartmans expressed gratitude to the ODNR for their collaboration on the project.
“We have a great partnership with the ODNR,” Lewis said.
The webcam page drew 640,000 visits in 2022 and will likely attract even more now that the Marblehead Lighthouse cam is live.
“People get on the webpage almost every single day and continuously watch them,” Lewis said. “You can catch a rainbow after a storm or watch a storm coming in. The sunrises and sunsets are really good to watch. The Marblehead camera is more powerful than the other ones, so you can get on at night and still see the lighthouse, the stars and the light flashing every six seconds.”
Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty email@example.com.