The Great Lakes Are a Natural Super Highway for Shipping

The Great Lakes (Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior) make up the largest body of fresh water on Earth. This cluster of lakes holds one-fifth of the freshwater surface on the planet at 6 quadrillion gallons. These lakes provide millions of people with freshwater as well recreational activities, but because these lakes are connected, the Great Lakes act as a super highway for thousands of ships carrying cargo from all over the world.

Lighthouses Act as Traffic Signals on the Great Lakes

The fleets which cruise the Great Lakes are made up of carriers, tankers, bulk freighters, tugs, and barges. According to MentalFloss.com, over 125 million tons of cargo are transported a year using the lakes. Around 40 percent of the cargo is mined products, while about 40 percent is agricultural products.

Here's a photo of a white lighthouse with red accents.

Sturgeon Point Lighthouse on Lake Huron in Haynes Township located in northeastern lower Michigan.

The remaining 20% of cargo includes steel, scrap metal, iron products, fuel, and chemicals. Due to the high traffic on these lakes for the past century, hundreds of lighthouses have been built, and many of them have become historical fixtures of the local area.

Toledo Harbor Lighthouse May Attract Tourists

Take for example the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse situated in Lake Erie. This light station has been in place for over 100 years, and in 2003, the Toledo Harbor Light Society was formed for the purpose to preserve the building. In a report from WTOL, Sandy Bihn of the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society explained why people in the THLPS are so dedicated to their cause. “Seeing the Toledo Lighthouse doesn’t get you confused with others. It’s extremely unique.” Bihn and society members hope to raise funds to re-open the lighthouse to the public and make it a summertime attraction for tourists. “Lighthouses are amongst the most popular tourist attractions in the country. People from all over the world would come here,” said Ms. Bihn.

Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival Raises Funds for Restoration

The Society is currently seeking grant money to help refurbish the century old lighthouse. In addition to grants, the Society held its fifteenth annual Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival at Maumee Bay State Park on July 7- 8. Perhaps the most popular attraction at the festival was the boat rides around the old Toledo Harbor Lighthouse. Leaving from nearby Harbor View Yacht Club, the boat tours sold out at 11, 12:30, and 2:00. The $30 ride took about one hour and allowed people to get a close view of the historic site as the boat circled the island where the lighthouse is situated. The festival also featured food, musical acts, a silent auction, and children’s activities such as games, storytelling about the light house, and face painting. Also on hand were over 50 of the area’s finest nautical artists and crafters.

This is a Lighthouse Statue Award. The right side features a bronze colored lighthouse, while the left side has a 4x6 glass plate that can be personalized. It's all mounted on a black base.

Lighthouse Statue RFB136

Hit Trophy Has Nautical Gifts

If you missed the Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival, you can still purchase a fine, nautical gift from us at Hit Trophy. Our Lighthouse Statue (item #RFB136) makes a wonderful memento for your favorite mariners or a gracious gift for anyone who admires historic lighthouses. The 6” black base anchors a nearly 9” tall resin lighthouse. The bronze colored lighthouse depicts fine details. The lantern room at the pinnacle of the lighthouse is clearly depicted including the lantern gallery (or catwalk) that was used by the lighthouse keeper to clean the lenses and lamps of the structure. Next to the statuette, a glass engraving plate stands vertically and provides plenty of room to place your words of praise or a nautical quote. Our design team will engrave up to six lines of text onto the glass plate, and our gifted engravers can also place any nautical artwork you provide. Our computerized laser engraver can duplicate your artwork, and our engraving comes free of charge. So present that admirer of nautical history with our Lighthouse Statue.

Hit Trophy Encourages the Preservation of the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse

We at Hit Trophy support the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society and its quest to complete the $1.5 million renovation of the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse. If you would like more information about the society or if you would like to donate to their cause, visit their website at toledolighthouse.org. And if you would like to see other unique gifts like our Lighthouse Statue (item #RFB136), view our entire catalog of over 265 personalized gifts. We have exceptional gifts including Bamboo BBQ sets, patriotic statues, wine box sets, and much, much more. To see more gift ideas, visit our Personalized Gifts section or our Service Awards & Gifts section of our website.


Tim Friend has written news and entertainment articles for AXS.com, Examiner.com, and many regional publications. He also writes advertising copy for companies including Hit Trophy. In addition to his writing credits, he has three decades of experience teaching journalism and communication.