Green Island Lighthouse
In 1861, George Gordon Meade was sent to the area on the shore north of the mouth of the Menominee River to determine if a lighthouse would benefit the area. He returned affirming the idea. Construction began in 1862 and was completed in 1863. A two-story brick structure with a fixed light was the first lighthouse.
The first lighthouse keeper was Samuel Drew and his wife, Mary. They were initially chosen since it was their land that was purchased for the lighthouse. In their off time, they farmed the remainder of the island. The Drews raised five children on the island. Two later on became the lighthouse keeper and one died in infancy and is buried on the island.
A fire swept through the lighthouse a year after activation and a temporary light and shelter was erected while the lighthouse was reconstructed.
During the Peshtigo Fire in 1871, the island escaped any damage, but smoke was so thick around the island that Samuel Drew kept the light burning both day and night. Despite these precautions, a three-masted schooner, the George L Newman wrecked off shore any way. However all of the crew was saved in the incident.
In 1876, an additional plot was purchased from the Drews and a new landing was constructed. In 1883, the boathouse was moved to accommodate dropping water levels in the bay. In 1893, the well went dry and a new well was dug. The house was damaged by ice in 1902 and had to be rebuilt.
Samuel and Mary's son, Frank, became the Assistant Lightkeeper in 1902. In 1909 when he became the Lightkeeper, his brother George joined him as the assistant. Between the two of them they are credited with over 30 rescues and were known for their heroism. Frank retired in 1929 and a USGC Coastal Buoy Tender was christened in his honor in 1998.
In 1928, the beacon was changed to a flashing signal. While having a shorter range, it was able to be used during the winter months. In 1933, the light was automated. In 1956, a new steel tower replaced the old house and the house was abandoned. A year later, the Light Station was sold to Roen Steamship Company, which had already purchased the rest of the island.
Weather, vandals, fire have reduced the original light to an empty shell. The steel tower, the last light, remains vigilant and active.
|Keeper||Drew, Samuel P||26 Oct 1863||27 May 1881|
|1st Asst||Drew, Helen M||6 Aug 1867||30 Sep 1870|
|Keeper||Harris, Joseph Jr||27 May 1881||11 Feb 1882|
|Keeper||Cane, Benjamin F||11 Feb 1882||31 Aug 1882|
|Act Kpr||Robinson, Thomas||31 Aug 1882||7 Feb 1883|
|Keeper||Wheatleay, William H||7 Feb 1883||10 Sep 1885|
|Keeper||Hansen, Ole||10 Sep 1885||28 Apr 1890|
|Keeper||Christianson, Soren||28 Apr 1890||15 Sep 1893|
|Keeper||Dues, Peter||15 Sep 1893||13 Oct 1897|
|Keeper||Schroeder, William||13 Oct 1897||1 May 1900|
|Keeper||Wachter, James||1 May 1900||15 Jul 1909|
|1st Asst||Drew, Frank A||1 Jan 1903||15 Jul 1909|
|Keeper||Drew, Frank A||15 Jul 1909||1 Apr 1929|
|1st Asst||Drew, George W||15 Jul 1909||1915|
|1st Asst||Coughlin, Peter||1915||5 Feb 1919|
|Keeper||Cornell, Edward H||1 Apr 1929||1930|
|1st Asst||Cornell, Alfred C||1 Apr 1929||1931|
|Keeper||Cornell, Alfred C||1931||30 Jun 1933|
|1st Asst||Drezdon, Michael S||1930||30 Jun 1933|
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