On turning to Point Wagooshance, I found there were�many strong objections to it as a site, growing out of its remoteness from the main channel, and the circumstance of a dangerous reef projecting out from the point to the distance of nearly half a mile. I soon satisfied myself that a light on that point would prove of but little service to vessels passing through this boisterous and difficult strait. My attention was next directed to a small detached reef lying about half way between Point Wagooshance and the light-boat, say one mile and a half from each. This reef is only about fifty yards wide and two hundred long, running in the direction of the straits, and having from five to seven feet water upon it. Between this reef and the point, there is a channel one and a half mile wide, and two and a half fathoms deep. To the northward of the reef is the light boat channel, which is very deep, and from three to five miles wide. A light on the small reef spoken of I am persuaded would be placed in the most eligible position possible, and I am satisfied would be of more advantage to commerce than all the other lights on Lake Michigan taken together. I, therefore, beg leave to recommend that one be erected there without delay. When the light-house in question shall have been completed, the lightboat can be very usefully employed in the Maumee bay.
Haunted Lighthouse That Survived World War 2 Target Practice Bombing Now Crumbling Into Lake Michigan
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A haunted and history-rich lighthouse will soon crumble into Lake Michigan as erosion from high water levels claims it a piece at a time.
The ruins of the 170-year-old lighthouse at Waugoshance protects boats from a shoal area at the northern end of Lake Michigan. The lighthouse is located in Emmet County, Michigan . It stands in an area of the Wilderness State Park that is considered one of the most hazardous areas near the Straits of Mackinac.
A non-profit group that has worked to preserve the lighthouse and its contents have dissolved and made the heartbreaking announcement that Waugoshance Lighthouse will be crumbling into Lake Michigan sooner rather than later.
Prior to a lighthouse being erected at this treacherous area of Lake Michigan, a lightvessel /lightship was used to light the way. The area around Waugoshance Point is not only shallow, it's a large (in area) projection from the bottom of the lake. Boats large enough to safely travel in times of storm cannot approach the light closer than a few hundred yards.
In 1851 the lightvessel method was replaced by the permanent Waugoshance Light. The lighthouse at Waugoshance was arguably the first light built in the Great Lakes that was completely surrounded by water. Both its construction and its continued maintenance were extremely hazardous due to the severe weather conditions of the area.
Waugoshance Lighthouse is also a known haunted location. In the 1800s a keeper by the name of John Herman was known for his devious pranks and as well as a mean drunk , known for drinking on the job. The legend says that one night while in a drunken stupor, he locked his assistant in the lantern room. When his assistant finally found his way out, Herman was nowhere to be found.
Many believe he fell into the lake as he was never seen again. Future lightkeepers who knew the history refused the assignment. Those that did, reported having had their chairs kicked out from underneath them when they fell asleep, coal buckets filling by themselves, and furniture being moved about the room as if by a poltergeist.
During World War II Waugoshance Point to the east along with the islands off the point and the abandoned lighthouse was designated as the Waugoshance Point Target and used for tactical bombing and strafing practice as well as for experimentation with a highly secretive program, codenamed STAG-1, involving radio-controlled "drone" aircraft. Planes were flown out of the Naval Air Station at Traverse City (now Cherry Capital Airport). Engineers fitted out twin-engine planes with primitive radio receivers that connected to the steering. Pilots flying a “mothership” trailing several miles behind would steer the drones over their unlucky targets. After dropping powerful 2,000-pound bombs, the drones were then allowed to crash down into the water.
Evidence of this military usage can still be found. Shell fragments and motor parts are occasionally uncovered. The fuselage of a target plane can be seen from the point parking lot. Grainy video footage of the bombings of the helpless lighthouse can be seen below.
Waugoshance Lighthouse is said to be both a "nautical gravestone" (because of the many wrecks in the vicinity) and on the "most endangered list" of lighthouses, being on the Lighthouse Digest "Doomsday List." It is one of six in Michigan; the remaining five are: Charity Island Light, Fourteen Mile Point Light, Gull Rock Light, Manitou Island Light, and Poverty Island Light.
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Spooky happenings inside Michigan’s haunted lighthouses revealed in new book
- Updated: Oct. 18, 2019, 12:52 p.m. |
- Published: Oct. 17, 2019, 5:08 p.m.
- Emily Bingham | [email protected]
Archives of Michigan
By Emily Bingham | [email protected]
Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state, and these shoreline sentinels have long captured our imaginations. They were often the lonely witnesses to shipwrecks, accidents, and the worst weather Mother Nature could throw at us in the Great Lakes. In the era before lighthouses became automated, entire families lived and died within their rooms. No doubt these iconic structures contain countless stories -- and, naturally, a few ghost stories, too.
In her new book " Michigan's Haunted Lighthouses "(The History Press, 2019), author Dianna Higgs Stampfler weaves together the factual histories and reported ghost stories of 13 supposedly haunted Michigan lighthouses. Stampfler says that of all the Great Lakes lighthouses, more than 40 are claimed to be haunted.
Whether true or not, the ghost stories associated with these structures only seem to add to lighthouses' allure.
"Michigan has several things that are iconic: Our great lakes are one, the Mackinac Bridge is another, and I think the lighthouses are part of that," Stampfler says. "Our earliest light was in the 1820's -- before Michigan even became a state."
While writing the book, Stampfler did extensive research into the histories of each of the 13 lighthouses, as well as the keepers and their families. In some cases Stampfler turned up information that debunked previous-held notions about events that happened at particular lighthouses, changing the facts that we know about these places.
"It was cool to dig up evidence that contradicted what I'd been told for 20 years," she says.
She also interviewed visitors, volunteers and staffers who now work at the lighthouses, gathering tales of mysterious incidents: strange sounds, apparitions, footsteps in the night.
"With these lighthouses, [the spirits] are mostly just keepers who served 20, 30, 40 years years or more, who I think just never wanted to leave their jobs," she says. "Or else it's the descendants of keepers -- for some, this was the only home they ever knew."
"In many cases these spirits are still looking out for the lighthouse, so they’re kind of still on duty."
Read on for a selection of lighthouses included in Stampfler's book. For more information, including talks related to the book's release, visit MIhauntedlighthouses.com .
Courtesy The History Press
Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard
The South Haven South Pierhead Light
South Haven Keeper's Dwelling
At the iconic South Haven South Pierhead Light keepers' residence -- now a library and research center for the Michigan Maritime Museum -- staffers and volunteers report spooky occurrences like creaking floorboards and doors opening and closing by themselves. The place is rumored to be haunted by James Samuel Donahue, a legendary keeper and Civil War veteran who tended the light from 1874 until his retirement in 1909.
U.S. Coast Guard
White River Light Station
White River Light Station
There are multiple accounts of haunting experiences at this Lake Michigan lighthouse, though most are friendly -- and even helpful, in the case of one possible ghost who has apparently assisted more than once with housekeeping duties on the second floor.
South Manitou Island Lighthouse
The Manitou Islands are storied places for many reasons -- after all, they gave rise to the Aanishnabek legend that inspired Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore's name. The historic light on South Manitou Island is home to stories of a different kind, though; it's supposedly haunted by a keeper and his wife, who both died more than 140 years ago.
Seul Choix Point Lighthouse, c. 1915
Seul Choix Point Lighthouse
This 1895-built U.P. light east of Manistique reportedly is haunted by the ghost of a former keeper who loved to smoke cigars. You can see for yourself on one of the public tours when the light is open ( details here ).
Big Bay Point Lighthouse
You can actually stay the night at this lighthouse: It was converted to a bed and breakfast several decades ago, and offers guests a cozy place to stay on the magnificent shores of Lake Superior northwest of Marquette. There's a bonus to any overnight stay for those who love ghost stories, as the place is supposedly haunted by as many as five spirits.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Marquette Harbor Lighthouse
One of Marquette's iconic historic structures, this U.P. lighthouse might be haunted by a child: There have been reports of a young girl appearing in one of the windows of the lighthouse's upper floors. The lighthouse is open Tuesday through Sunday for tours, if you want to try to catch a glimpse for yourself.
Whitefish Point Lighthouse
Located along the shores of what's been called Lake Superior's treacherous "shipwreck coast," Whitefish Point Lighthouse is now home to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum . According to Stampfler, there have been numerous accounts of strange, unexplained activity here, including voices, footsteps, and locked doors opening.
Saginaw River Rear Range Light
It's been reported that people have heard footsteps on the steel spiral staircase of this Bay City lighthouse -- even when there's no one else there. The 1876-built light has been vacant for decades, public tours are extremely limited, and while hauntings remain unproven, Stampfler points out an eerie part of the lighthouse's history. "There was a woman keeper there who outlived two of her husbands who served there," Stampfler says. "There was always this question in my mind whether she had something to do with their deaths."
National Archives and Records Administration
Waugoshance Shoal Lighthouse
Waugoshance Shoal Light
"Waugoshance is probably one of my favorites," Stampfler says. The 1850-built lighthouse has a colorful history, including being used by the Navy as a target to test remote-control drone bombing during the early stages of WWII. For years, fans of this Lake Michigan light believed that it was haunted by a keeper who'd drowned after drunkenly falling off the lighthouse crib -- though Stampfler's research found that the keeper actually died of a heart attack on Mackinac Island.
This light isn't open to the public but can be seen from the shoreline of Wilderness State Park near Michigan's Mackinaw Straits.
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These 11 Michigan ghost towns are eerily intriguing
Historic photos of Michigan ghost towns offer a spooky look into the past
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Michigan’s Abandoned Waugoshance Lighthouse
The Wagoshance Lighthouse (or as the old sailors called it, Wobbleshanks) sits out in Lake Michigan not far from Mackinac City off the coast of Wilderness State Park. It is at a remote place out away from sight by most tourists and has been forgotten and left to crumble into Lake Michigan. It was the first lighthouse in the Great Lakes completely surrounded by water when it was built in 1851. It’s unique looking “birdhouse style lantern room illuminated the dark for decades guiding ships into the Straits of Mackinac. As ships got larger, the shipping lanes changed and the old iron-clad lighthouse was no longer needed and was decommissioned in 1912. Being left to the elements was bad enough, but the Army Air Corps used it as a target to test drones and bombed the outcast Lighthouse. What the elements did not destroy, the fire from the bombs did. It is just a shell of rusted metal and crumbling stone and bricks. If this old light was sitting in front of Mackinac Island, or in view from the bridge, people would be wondering about it, but I guess the old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is true.
The lighthouse is listed as one of the most endangered lighthouses by Lighthouse Digest and with the non-profit organization that was trying to raise funds to save it being recently disbanded, the old lighthouse is left to unceremoniously collapse into Lake Michigan.
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One evening a few years back, I was looking at some photographs for sale in Grays Reef in Mackinac City, MI. A shot of Waugoshance Lighthouse caught my attention. On the back was a note, "Supposedly abandoned because it was haunted by deceased lightkeeper". It was signed by a Jim Tamlyn. I asked the clerk if she knew where I could contact Jim. Luck was on my side: he was a local photographer and I arranged to meet him at his studio, J. Tamlyn Photography, in Mackinaw City, Michigan. "Waugoshance," he told me, "is different. When you're out there all alone, there is something eerie about the place." Jim explained that over the years he has taken hundreds, perhaps thousands, of photos of lighthouses, under all types of lighting and weather conditions. I could tell I was talking to a unique individual. His particular expertise might be described as "lighthouse mood photography." I could see from his facial expressions and body language that Waugoshance must have a distinct mood that can't adequately be expressed by words, or captured in photographs. I suppose it is this sense of mood that separates the great photographers from the rest of us point-and-shoot amateurs. I asked Jim about the supposed haunting. He explained that he had found it in the book, Northern Lights, by Charles Hyde. I located a copy and read how John Herman, keeper from about 1885 to 1894, drowned at the light station. John was known for two things, his assistant found himself locked in the lantern room one evening, the victim of one of Herman's practical jokes. He called down to Herman to let him out. But Herman, who was staggering along the pier, apparently went over the edge and drowned. According to legend, from that time on strange things began to happen at Waugoshance. After the nearby White Shoal Lighthouse was put into operation in 1910, Waugoshance was closed. Official records of the U.S. Lighthouse Service indicate it was obsolete. Bet there are some who insist the real reason was that nobody wanted to contend with the ghost that inhabited the place. The man who loved "spirits" most of his life, had become one after death. Now my interest was really aroused. I called author Charles Hyde, who told me he obtained the ghost story from an article published almost 30 years ago in the Petoskey News Review. The story of the Waugoshance ghost was unfolding like many other ghost tales. Someone read about or talked to someone who learned about it from someone else, who in turn heard about it from someone else. Eventually the path disappears with a story as old as the Waugoshance Ghost. Before I go any further, I think it only fair to warn the reader that ghost-story tellers and used car salesman have much in common. In other words, beware lest you get all tangled up in tall tales about spirits that flirt around in sheets, and little old ladies who only drive to church on Sundays. Many people are skeptical of ghosts. They immediately think of the "ghost" they encountered when they were a child and some joker, covered with a sheet jumped out of the darkness to scare them. Old images of ghosts covered with sheets date back to a time when people were superstitious about the dead returning to haunt the living. Bodies were wrapped in sheets and sometimes even immobilized with a ball and chain before burial. About 13 years ago, I attended a seminar on ghosts and hauntings. Participants, from all over the world, came to share experiences and sightings that weren't obvious practical jokes and left one with a feeling they couldn't entirely dismiss. During our sessions that often lasted late into the night, we evolved an approach that might even be described as scientific, though not the sense of the pseudo-high-tech "Ghostbusters" running around with fire extinguishers and radio antennas strapped to their backs. Rather, we developed a genre to classify ghosts, much as scientists develop taxonomic classifications of animal and plant species. At one extreme on this Ghostonomic Classification Scale are the "menacing" ghosts of persons, who, for example, were murdered and reappear to haunt the murderer. I suppose these would be truly scary, particularly if one had something to fear. Intermediate on the scale, is the 'restless' ghost of a departed person who, perhaps, didn't get a proper burial and appears to anyone in the vicinity where its remains lay. These are probably a bit scary, since they seem to be a violation of the physical laws we are accustomed to. At the other extreme are "poltergeists." These ghostly spirits serve no discernible purpose, other than to create a great deal of disruption with little or no harm, and are certainly nothing to be feared. As ghosts go, what I had learned about the behavior of the alleged Waugoshance ghost - opening and closing doors -suggested it was of poltergeist variety. Perhaps it had scared subsequent keepers, but they didn't have the benefit of our classification scheme. I was certain the Waugoshance ghost, if it even existed, was of the harmless poltergeist variety. Later in the month I arranged to have dinner with a friend, Mark Siegman at the Dockside Restaurant in St. Ignance Michigan. (We both recommend the planked whitefish). Mark is an adventurous sort, and I thought he might be willing to ferry me out to Waugoshance to do a little firsthand ghost hunting. His response was more than I could have hoped for. Not only would he take me out, but he was interested in exploring Waugoshance too. As dinner progressed, accompanied by a few courses of wine, our plans became more daring. By the time dessert arrived, we had committed ourselves to spending the night at Waugoshance. Worse yet, the dinner party was a foursome, so we had two witnesses who agreed to see us off. There was no backing down now. When the appointed day came, we assembled on the beach at Mark's cottage. We had agreed not to take flashlights, candles, matches, or cameras. After all, we were going in search of a ghost, not to scare it away. We brought a tarp in case it rained, and our sleeping bags. It wasn't that we intended to sleep, but it might get rather cool at night. We had carefully pondered what might entice the ghost of John Herman to make an appearance. According to the story, he enjoyed strong drink. What drink? Scotch sounded great. How would he like his scotch served? That was obvious, given that he frequented Waugoshance, it would have to be "on the rocks!" We added a small cooler containing ice cubes and a fifth of scotch and three glass tumblers. Mark launched the boat in style with his vintage 1968 Cadillac Eldorado boat launcher - a truly memorable contraption equipped with the latest ether starter, and straight exhaust pipes to announce each launch. (One year it had doubled as a float in the annual St. Ignace auto show parade - transporting a boat load of very happy revellers before the unbelieving eyes of all who assembled on Maine Street.) As we prepared to embark on our momentous journey, one of our dinner friends, who had come to see us off announced that she had been researching haunted lighthouses. She posed a deep philosophical question. "Who haunts lighthouses?" "Beats me," I turned to Mark, "Do you know?" "Nope. Haven't got a clue. Who?" "The Ghost Guard!" Give us a break! Here we are about to embark on the adventure of our lives to confirm or refute a 100-year-old legend about the ghost of Waugoshance and all she could do was poke fun at our effort with lame jokes. The trip to Waugoshance was uneventful. We set anchor away from the crib and rigged a line to keep the boat from being slammed into the rocks by the waves from passing freighters. The ladder is gone, but one does not have to be much of a mountain climber to work his way up to the crib deck by using hand and footholds in the crumbling rocks. What was once the dwelling is now littered with debris left over from the fire. The iron staircase that provided access to the bird-cage lantern room is missing. All that remains are some internal supports. We considered using our rusty repelling skills to rig a line and make our way to the lantern room, but this seemed rather risky under the circumstances. We fashioned a table from the debris and ate our supper of smoked whitefish which we had previously purchased at Bell's Fishery in Mackinaw City. As dusk approached, a thick black cloud encircled the tower. No, it had nothing to do with ghosts. IT was just plain old gnats - billions of them. They reminded us of what smoke from the Chicago fire of 1871 might have looked like. We watched freighters in the distance passing between us and the colorful sunset on Lake Michigan. Thus far, we had neither seen nor heard anything that even remotely reminded us of a ghost. As darkness approached, we set the tumblers out, added ice and poured three stiff scotches on the rocks. Mark proposed a toast. "To the ghost of John Herman." "Hear, hear,: I added. "To the distinguished ghost of John Herman. After all, how many ghosts have a pad that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places?' We finished the round. Still there was no ghost. Herman's glass sat untouched. It was time to make preparations for a night of serious ghost watching. We strategically positioned ourselves against an interior wall in the burned out dwelling so that we'd see any movements in or out of the portals that had once been windows and doors. We sat down and waited patiently. As we sat there in the darkness, I thought I could hear whispers. "Mark, can you hear that?" "What?" "Whispers," "No" "They're sort of like whispers that can't be heard, but I can feel them." "Maybe your imagination is beginning to play tricks on you." "Maybe," but I thought back to what Jim Tamlyn had said, "When you're all alone out there, you get an eerie feeling." I wasn't all alone, Mark was there too. The real question was, who - or what else - might be there too? I have to admit that I definitely was overcome by an eerie feeling. My eerie feeling wasn't helped by the moonlight that filtered in through the door and the window portals. The passing of clouds and the flight of an occasional bird made the light literally dance on the crumbling surfaces. Every shimmering movement of the light kept us on edge. I could hear faint thunder in the background. As it grew louder, we adjusted the tarp to protect us from any rain that might fall. Across the room were the three tumblers , two empty and one full. Our attempt to entice the ghost of John Herman to put in an appearance, thus far, had been unsuccessful. As we sat there we talked about what an adventure - or fright - it must have been to be on the water during one of those legendary Lake Michigan storms. Imagine being a seaman below deck on the schooner Lillie Amiot when it capsized, dumped deck load of lumber on the bottom, and then righted itself. Worse yet, imagine being on the deck with the lumber! When the rain finally arrived, it came in torrents. The cold wind, that literally whistled through the burned out tower and dwelling, drove us into our sleeping bags. When we awoke the next morning, sunlight was streaming into the structure. Across the room were the three tumblers on our makeshift table. Two were nearly empty and the other was full. The tightly capped bottle of scotch sat nearby, the level precisely where we had left it the night before. The ghost of John Herman had not put in an appearance, even as we slept. We collected our things and headed back to the mainland, not really sure whether we should be relieved or disappointed. So far, so good. But the plot thickens. One evening I got a telephone call from Mark. After our in-search-of ghosts adventure, we had left the cooler on the back porch and the partially empty bottle of scotch on the table inside his cottage. When Mark returned a week later , the first thing his nose told him was that something was very fishy. The cooler proved to be the culprit. Inside was a partly decomposed whitefish that had been baking for a week in the July sun. The bottle of Scotch was still inside where we had left it. The level was still the same. However, it contained water instead of Scotch whiskey! Who was responsible? Whiskey transformed into water sounds like an old teenage trick, but there weren't any teenagers around, My first suspicion was that our lame-joking, well-wishing friends dropped by and set us up. If so, neither of them has been willing to take credit. Could it be - and I realize this is a far stretch for those who are skeptical of ghosts - that the ghost of John Herman had visited us that dark stormy night at Waugoshance? Could a ghost drink almost a fifth of Scotch and replace it with Lake Michigan water? Could a ghost leave a fish in our cooler? We had been convinced that our little excursion was a failure. We hadn't bothered to uncap the bottle and smell the scotch. We had no reason to be suspicious. I don't recall that we even opened the cooler. Could it be that Mark and I had become the latest target of the practical jokes of lightkeeper John Herman's ghost? Editor's note: This story originally appeared in Great Lakes Cruiser Magazine in 1994 and was used by permission. It was slightly modified because of the time change and different photographs have been used.
All contents copyright © 1995-2023 by Lighthouse Digest®, Inc. No story, photograph, or any other item on this website may be reprinted or reproduced without the express permission of Lighthouse Digest. For contact information, click here.
Up North lighthouse likely to be swallowed by Lake Michigan after century of neglect
A man spent half his life trying to save a forgotten lighthouse. but without much help, his efforts came to a reluctant end..
LAKE MICHIGAN — Not if, but when.
Someday soon, a forgotten old lighthouse will crumble into Lake Michigan. And along with it, the hopes of the man who spent half his lifetime trying to save it.
After a century of abandonment, after seasons of water and ice tearing at its base, the Waugoshance Lighthouse will be swallowed by the lake. The only mystery is when.
“It’s going pretty quick now,” said Chris West, the 45-year-old founder of the Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society. “We, by no means, can see the future on how long it will last, but if what’s happened over the past two years continues to happen, it doesn’t have long for this world.”
What’s happened is that record-high water levels ate away at its brittle foundation, pulling out and carrying off some of the limestone blocks on which it’s stood for 170 years. Once that happened, the countdown to the inevitable began.
West is the harbor master at the Mackinaw City Municipal Marina, and he owns and operates the Ugly Anne Tour Company, using an old lobster boat he brought back from Maine to take people on tours through the Straits of Mackinac. For a time, he was with the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau, and he still works part time with Emmet County EMS.
But despite being so busy, everything revolved around saving a forlorn lighthouse. He was the driving force behind the preservation group, the idealist who never gave up believing despite the odds. Now, with the price tag to repair it soaring beyond his means, he had to call it quits and give ownership of the lighthouse back to the government, its previous owner, which has no plans of its own to save it.
Unless someone else steps forward and decides that it’s worth preserving, his disheartened surrender will end the long, ill-fated effort to keep it standing.
“There was this path forward that we had, and we were all excited about it,” West said. “But then the high water came and it just kind of put up a roadblock for us, and just started beating the heck out of the lighthouse. We had a lot of things working against us, and then, unfortunately, the nail in the coffin was the high water.”
Twenty-five years ago, West was a college student from Saginaw spending his summer working in Wilderness State Park at the northern edge of the Lower Peninsula when he discovered the abandoned lighthouse a few miles off shore and fell in love with it.
“I’d bartend at night and I’d go out to Waugoshance during the day on a boat. And then in the wintertime, I’d go out on a snowmobile during the day and I’d bartend at night, so it was pretty nuts,” he said. “But it was obviously very cool — during the day I’d spend my days out at a lighthouse in the middle of the Straits of Mackinac. There are worse places to be in the world.”
Waugoshance was built in 1850 to mark a turning point for ships passing through a shallow portion of the straits, where ships kept running aground on the high shoals.
It was built on a foundation of limestone boulders, with two-story brick living quarters, a boathouse, a woodhouse and a conical brick tower painted in red and white stripes, all topped by a bird-cage lantern, a rarity that’s now among the last few left in the country.
West dived into research about the lighthouse, poring over the construction logs, digging up often obscure facts. There was the story of John Herman, the hard-drinking lighthouse keeper of Waugoshance who once locked his assistant in the lantern room as a prank. When the assistant finally escaped, Herman had vanished. He was never seen again. It was assumed that he drunkenly fell into the water and drowned. Afterward, every unexplained event was blamed on his ghost. Future caretakers reported signs of a haunting, like having their chairs pulled out from beneath them when they were asleep, or finding coal shoved into the boiler on its own. Many refused to serve there because of all the stories.
Those who did faced a harsh winter, alone on the lake in a small space, surrounded by water and assaulted by menacing weather. “It’s a remote location in 2021, but could you imagine in 1860 when they were out there and they’d go out and get dropped off when the ice went out, and get some rations of food every month or so, and then they’d get picked up when the shipping season was over?” West asked. “I mean, that had to be bananas to be out there for that long.”
By 1910, a new lighthouse, the White Shoal, was built 2 miles north and Waugoshance was decommissioned. It sat undisturbed until World War II, when the Navy took control of the area and began using the lighthouse as target practice for bombs. Most of the time they missed entirely, though enough bombs were on target to blast away the pier and incinerate the interior of the living quarters. Ever since, the harsh weather has done its best to finish the job. Yet the battered lighthouse remains upright.
“If you think about it, it was built in 1850-1851; it’s been bombed, it’s been in the middle of Lake Michigan, it’s been there for 170 years. And limestone is not known as the strongest of the rocks; it likes to wear away,” West said. “And so, for it to still be standing is amazing.”
In 1998, at only 24, West formed the nonprofit Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society to draw attention to the plight of the lighthouse and raise funds to preserve it. He recruited his friends to help fill out the group.
“He said, ‘I got this lighthouse and I want to get serious with it, and would you be interested in joining the board?’ ” said Dan Tosch, 45, who’s known West since college.
Corey Adkins moved to the area from Fenton two decades ago, fascinated by all things Up North, including its iconic lighthouses. One day, like West once had, he discovered Waugoshance.
“I was looking at a map, and in Lake Michigan there’s this blip on the map that said ‘abandoned lighthouse.’ So I was like, I gotta find a way to get out there.” He found the preservation society, became friends with Chris, and has been part of the core group ever since working to save it.
“We’ve always been very bootstrapped; realistically just working with what we had, and a lot of that was just that we had a lot of sweat equity,” Tosch said. “But we never had the expertise — honestly, probably — to raise funds, let alone really know what we were doing along those lines.”
But they all shared an appreciation of history and a fascination with lighthouses, especially this ugly duckling sitting out of sight and far from shore.
“It’s almost like lighthouses are our castles, because we don’t have those in this country,” West said. “There’s this old, unique architecture, and every one of them’s different. There’s no two that are the same. They’re amazing just to look at and think about them building these structures 150, 200 years ago, and how you would do it without an engine or hydraulics to lift these things up. They were just using pulleys and ropes and whatever they could get their hands on to make it work.”
Although they were built solely to serve a purpose, lighthouses have always inspired admiration and romanticism.
“They protect people that are traveling in dangerous situations,” said Dena Sanford, an architectural historian with the National Parks Service. “It’s a beacon of light, a beacon of hope. It’s a singular design, and the people that lived in those kind of properties, they had to have a certain fortitude themselves to be able to live there and carry on with maintaining those lights. So it’s a story of courage and perseverance and connection.”
They were built strong enough to withstand extreme weather and sturdy enough that many have lasted centuries. Yet they’re also architecturally elegant and graceful, often featuring foundations of hewn stone, sleek towers, spiral iron staircases, decorative window flourishes and brightly colored paints that made them stand out against their surroundings. They’re usually located in beautiful settings such as beaches or cliffsides, on islands or at the edge of thick woods — but always along some scenic waterway. They offered a life of solitude and peace for those who lived and worked there, and they provided breathtaking views of sunrises and sunsets from their lantern room perches.
Michigan has the most lighthouses of any state with about 130, although that’s about half the number of just a century ago. Most hold public tours, many have museums on their grounds, some even have become bed and breakfasts spots. They’re the stars of countless wall calendars and coffee table books. And under the state’s Lighthouse Keeper’s Program, guests can pay a fee to live in one of several lighthouses for a week or two, lead tours, perform basic maintenance and yard work, and otherwise role play the life of a lighthouse keeper.
West and his group got ownership of Waugoshance in 2011 from the U.S. Coast Guard under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, in which the federal government transfers ownership of unused lighthouses to groups that demonstrate a willingness and ability to preserve and restore them. But because of the lighthouse’s remoteness and obscurity, getting others interested in the cause was always tough.
“I think people, they look at pictures of the light, and it’s a beautiful light, and they don’t realize how difficult it is to even go there,” Adkins said. “I mean, even in the summertime it’s a 15-mile boat trip from Mackinaw; and then you take the boat and then you gotta actually hop in the water, ‘cause there’s not a docking system. So you gotta get off the boat, swim to the lighthouse, put a ladder up, and then when you put the ladder up and you climb on the lighthouse, it’s just full of bird crap. It’s literally just full of cormorant poo. When people would get on our board or people would get involved, that was it. Nobody other than Chris and I and my wife, we were like the only ones who ever went out there to work on it because it’s so difficult to get to, and you’d have to get wet to get on the light.”
The nearest boat launch is 15 miles away in Mackinaw City. The closest land is the northern tip of Wilderness State Park 4 miles south. In the winter, it’s reachable only by snowmobile, and then only if the ice is thick enough. It made for sometimes harrowing journeys for the group’s members.
“Some years I went, I’ll never forget how we got out there, because the way we were checking the thickness of the ice was we were stopping every maybe 500 yards and drilling a hole to see how thick the ice was,” Adkins said. “And I was like, ‘Whoa, this is serious. We’re a mile from anywhere.’ We finally got out there, but there’s been some years where we tried to get out there on a snowmobile and she almost went through.”
Then came record-high water levels two years ago, sending an already high repair bill soaring. A quick, emergency fix of the base would be roughly $300,000, while a real repair and restoration would cost millions. And all for a lighthouse that few people know about, one that takes an expedition to reach.
“I always describe this project as one step forward, 200 steps back,” Adkins said, “because it’s so broken up there, it’s so gone. And then when we got these high water levels and the base started washing out and we weren’t getting any help from, I don’t want to rag on any government officials or anything, but we weren’t getting any help from the federal government as far as plans to do something about it.”
At the start of this year, with few options left, West announced that the Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society was dissolving.
“It broke my heart,” he said. “It was 23 years of my life I’ve been working on this, so it was a really hard realization to come to. The people that are on the board are very good friends, and I kept trying to say, ‘Well, maybe we can do this or maybe we can do that,’ but they said, ‘Chris, you can’t put yourself in this position anymore. You’ve done it for 23 years. Nobody else wants to take it over. It’s just time.’ So, yeah, it was really hard to deal with.”
The group wanted to at least remove the rare bird cage lantern room atop the lighthouse and put it in a museum, but the National Park Service refused.
“We would like to see it remain intact, if possible,” said Sanford, who administers the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act program for the region. “This is kind of a singular situation. We’ve never encountered something like this before.” She said the government would first like to see whether another group would step forward to save it.
But in all these years, nobody else has. When the lighthouse first came up for bid a decade ago, only West was there offering to take it. And although he recruited others to the cause, this was always West’s passion. This was always his group.
“If anything, the Waugoshance Lighthouse would be nothing near what it is without Chris, and so it is sad because it’s tough to see someone just kind of — I don’t want to say give up — but turn the page on something like that,” Tosch said.
“It’s definitely sad,” said Adkins. “It will always have a small place in my heart. it’s the oldest shoal lighthouse on the Great Lakes, and we know the future of it; and the future of it is, if something doesn’t happen it’s going to be on the bottom of Lake Michigan. I feel bad for Chris, too. You know, I love the place. But he really loves the place. He’s got a great heart, and it is sad. We did what we could. We really did.”
Their group still exists, but West changed its name to Fans of Waugoshance Lighthouse, reflecting a reluctant acceptance of its likely fate.
“It gets better every day, but it’s like losing a family member almost,” West said. “It’s really tough when you’re so attached to something, and then all of a sudden you make the realization that it’s probably not going to make it.”
For more information, see: waugoshance.org
John Carlisle writes about people and places in Michigan. His stories can be found at freep.com/carlisle . Contact him: [email protected] . Follow him on Twitter @_johncarlisle , Facebook at johncarlisle.freep or on Instagram at johncarlislefreep .
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The Abandoned Waugoshance Lighthouse: Emmet County, Michigan
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One of Michigan's quirkiest abandoned places is the Waugoshance Lighthouse in Emmet County, just off Waugoshance Island, west of Wilderness State Park.
The lighthouse sits all alone way out in water only around 12 feet deep. It was constructed in 1851 and operated until 1912 after guiding the way for many ships and boats. Area locals consider this lone structure as sort of a tombstone, marking an area where many ships ran aground and sank in the Straits of Mackinac.
During the 1940's, this poor old lighthouse was used by the US Navy for World War 2 bombing & target practices. Even so, it withstood all the abuse and still stands, deteriorated, unowned and ramshackle. Nowadays, people paddle, row and motorboat out to the old lighthouse for closer looks, photos and video.
If it's lasted almost 170 years, then it's almost sure it'll be around long enough for you to visit sometime this summer, or any other time.
ALWAYS TREAT ABANDONED, HISTORICAL STRUCTURES WITH COURTESY AND RESPECT. HIGH RISK! IF YOU PLAN TO VISIT, DO SO WITH CAUTION.
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Waugoshance Lighthouse, Lake Michigan
While Michigan is home to more lighthouses than any other state, not all of its surviving lights are easily accessed or still in good shape. The Waugoshance Lighthouse in Lake Michigan is widely considered one of the state’s most endangered beacons, and the toll time has taken is easily visible to those able to make the trip out to visit it. We’ve been fortunate to get to see this lighthouse a few times on Shepler’s Lighthouse Cruises out of Mackinaw City, and were impressed that much of this lighthouse is still standing given its history.
This lighthouse was constructed in 1851, replacing a lightship that had stood on the shoal for two decades. The shoal is located in the area where vessels headed to or from Chicago, Milwaukee and other southern Lake Michigan ports need to make the turn to or from the Straits of Mackinac. It remained an active aid to navigation until 1912, when the White Shoal Light made it obsolete. The tower of the Waugoshance Lighthouse stands 63 feet tall, with a steel cage at its top.
Some interesting facts about the Waugoshance Lighthouse are that it was one of the first Michigan lighthouses completely surrounded by water, as well as that it was one of the earliest uses of a crib structure. The “bird cage” lantern room is one of only three on the Great Lakes, and the lighthouse was once encased with steel plating similar to Big Sable Point Lighthouse . It was also once painted white and red, though today only the Cream City brick remains in a tan/gray color.
The most interesting facts about this light center around it once being a bombing target for practice runs during the World War II era. The keeper’s house and the steel plating around the tower did not survive the bombing, and it’s easy to see just how much more damage was done to the structure during this time. While visiting the Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Leelanau State Park, we found an informational display that gave some of the history of these exercises: “In August of 1943 Stag 1 began operating assault drones from the carrier USS Sable in Grand Traverse Bay. The drone was developed in 1942 and was a remotely controlled TV directed assault drone which would carry a 2000 pound bomb load. From Traverse City via a barge that took off from the Hannah Lay Coal Docks, these secret drones were loaded aboard the USS Sable. From the decks of the USS Sable these planes practiced different maneuvers over Grand Traverse Bay to prepare for their later use on the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. The TDN was directed by dialing the coordinates on a spin dial telephone, and watching the plane through a television in the cockpit of a sister plane flying near the drone.Practice for these unique planes included learning how to fly with this new technology as well as how to drop their torpedoes. The United States government purchased the Waugoshance Point Lighthouse and the surrounding area, near the straits of Mackinac, in April of 1943. From 1943 – 1945 drones were taking off from both the USS Sable and the Traverse City Naval Air Station headed for Waugoshance Point Lighthouse where torpedo bombs were dropped on the lighthouse for practice. Today this 170 year old lighthouse, accessed only by watercraft, visitors may see remnants of these torpedoes and planes in the surrounding waters. The walls of this beacon have been decimated by the torpedoes and planes that once controlled the sky.”
Find out more about when Shepler’s offers their Westbound Lighthouse Cruise, which features a trip under the Mackinac Bridge and trips out to the Waugoshance Lighthouse, White Shoal Light, Grays Reef Light, St. Helena Island Lighthouse and Skilagalee Lighthouse (extended cruise only) at http://sheplersferry.com/cruises/ . Be sure to also check out the Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society page at http://www.waugoshance.org/about-us/ .
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50 EPIC abandoned places in Russia (PHOTOS)
1. Lighthouse on Cape Aniva, Sakhalin
This old lighthouse in the middle of a raging ocean was built in 1939, when this southern part of Sakhalin belonged to Japan. The last people to work here left it in the early 1990s. The lighthouse is located in an inaccessible place, with frequent fogs and strong currents, and can only be reached by motor boat and in good weather.
2. Smirnykh airfield, Sakhalin
This airfield was built by the Japanese for the Imperial Army. Having become Russian, it was used by an Air Force regiment until 1994. When the airfield was closed, almost all the aircraft were transferred to another base, with the exception of two MiG-23MLs. They (or what is left of them) remain in the hangars still.
3. Schooner in Morzhovaya Bay, Kamchatka
This whaling schooner, which was thrown ashore by a storm, was left to rust on a lonely coast. Many of the nearby villages have been abandoned, so there is no one to remove it.
4. Gunpowder room, Russky Island
Cellar No. 13 is the only cellar in a 1910 project, which had five tunnel storage facilities, up to 100 meters deep. It was used to store shells and fuses, some of which, according to industrial tourism enthusiasts, can still be found here.
5. Mir diamond mine, Yakutia
This former diamond mine is so huge that even helicopters are banned from flying over it as they may be dragged in by the draft. It is the second largest (after the Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah, U.S.) man-made hole in the world: 525 meters deep and 1,200 meters in diameter.
6. Mokry bridge, Chuvashia
This spectacular viaduct in the village of Mokry is more than 100 years old. During World War II, the Germans were desperately looking for a bridge here, since it was used by echelons of ammunition convoys. They failed to find it and the bridge was “retired” only in 1986.
7. Church of St. Paraskeva Pyatnitsa, village of Russkoye Khodyashevo
This wooden church stands 33 km from Kazan, near the deserted village of Russkoye Khodyashevo. The last person from Khodyashevo left it in 2010.
8. Settlement of Kadykchan, Magadan Region
Kadykchan (translated from the Even language, meaning “Valley of Death”) was built by prisoners. These days, it is an abandoned mining “ghost town” with the creepiest Lenin monument of all. People left it after there was an explosion at a nearby mine and the heating was turned off. In 2012, only one elderly man lived in the settlement, which once had a population of 12,000 people.
9. Sever communications station, Magadan
The tropospheric station near Anadyr was closed for good in 2003. With the development of satellite communications, there was no longer any need to maintain such a massive facility.
10. Monument in the town of Satka, Chelyabinsk Region
Satka has a Hammer and Sickle monument sitting atop one of its hills. It was installed to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the USSR, but apparently failed to be recorded in the register. And so it remains, an unaccounted for and unregistered monument of a bygone era.
11. Gamsutl, Dagestan
This is an abandoned ancient mountain village in the Republic of Dagestan in the North Caucasus. Its population was killed by a cholera outbreak in the 20th century.
12. Torpedo testing facility, Dagestan
This Soviet avant-garde building is located in the Caspian Sea, 3 km from the shore. It has been abandoned since 1966, as it no longer meets the requirements for testing new-generation torpedoes.
13. Mudflow control dam, Kabardino-Balkaria
The country’s largest mudflow control dam was built in the town of Tyrnyauz on the slopes of the Central Caucasus mountains in 1999. That same year, it saved the 27,000-strong town from a powerful mudflow. However, no money to restore the dam was ever found.
14. Amanauz hotel, Karachay-Cherkessia
The famous unfinished construction project in the Dombay ski region was meant to become a resort hotel, but the almost finished project had to be scrapped, due to a crack in the foundation.
15. Lutheran church, Volgograd Region
This Lutheran church in the village of Grechikhino, which stands in a field, was consecrated in 1892. These days it is used as a grain storage. Which is why it has been relatively preserved.
16. Ship graveyard, Teriberka
In 2014, this village located beyond the Arctic Circle became famous overnight: it had served as a film set for Andrey Zvyagintsev's internationally acclaimed movie ‘Leviathan’. One of the most atmospheric places in Teriberka - a graveyard of wooden ships – is also captured in the movie.
17. Kalyazin church, Tver Region
The flooded bell tower standing on an island in the Uglich reservoir 200 km north of Moscow was once part of the Kalyazin monastery, which was often visited by Russian tsars. Later, this entire area ended up under water when the reservoir was created. The only building that did not go under water completely was the bell tower, which was used as a lighthouse. Since 2014, due to falling water levels, it has been once again surrounded by land.
18. The von Geisler castle, Tver Region
The Gothic castle stands near a lake in the middle of a forest. A descendant of a Russified Dutch family, Vladimir Geisler, built it three years before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, after which he had to flee the country. In Soviet times, the building housed a sanatorium, which, however, failed to survive the Perestroika years.
19. Defense Ministry sanatorium, Tver Region
An example of Soviet modernism in all its glory: a cardiological sanatorium for 500 patients, whose construction was never completed.
20. Church of the Life-Giving Trinity, village of Turny
This church with a mini forest on its roof is located in Tver Region, in a village that is populated only in summer. Its history dates back to 1908. Now it stands empty, neither floor nor frescoes have survived, only a carved frame of the iconostasis.
21. Church of John the Evangelist, village of Koy
This church in Tver Region was built between 1828 and 1833. It is empty inside, there is no floor or doors, but the stunning frescoes on the dome of the church have survived.
22. Fort Emperor Alexander I, St. Petersburg
This defensive fortress in the Gulf of Finland never got to take part in any hostilities, so in the end, it was removed from the list of the city's defensive structures. But it was promptly assigned to a different use: in 1899, it became home to a laboratory for the study of plague.
23. The Demidov mansion, St. Petersburg
The old mansion of the once fabulously rich industrialists is located in the very center of St. Petersburg, in a lane next to St. Isaac’s Cathedral. It survived the 1917 revolution and for a while housed an engineering bureau. Now the building is owned by a commercial organization, but it remains abandoned.
24. The Brusnitsyn mansion, St. Petersburg
Peasant Nikolay Brusnitsyn, who moved to the city in 1844, quickly prospered, founded his own tannery and built a magnificent mansion next to it to serve as an almshouse. It housed old people and children, who were fed and clothed in exchange for working at the factory. These days, the abandoned mansion is a favorite setting for photo shoots by fashion magazines and for filming.
25. Red Cross shelter, St. Petersburg
Originally, the building housed a shelter for officers’ children and widows, under the patronage of the youngest daughter of Emperor Alexander III, Princess Olga Alexandrovna. Later, it became part of the Red Cross Society, but it ceased its operations in 1919.
26. Red Triangle factory, St. Petersburg
All the products of this rubber factory were branded with a logo in the form of a triangle, hence its unofficial nickname. This Russian-American manufactory is one of the oldest enterprises in the city. In the 2000s, the factory went bankrupt.
27. Grain elevator, Leningrad Region
The grain elevator of the SOK cooperative near Svetogorsk was built in the late 1930s. It used to produce everything: from flour to bread and compound feed for livestock. However, having failed to survive the post-Soviet economic crisis, the mill has stood abandoned since 1999.
28. Baltiyets pioneer camp, Leningrad Region
This is one of the numerous children’s summer camps that did not survive the collapse of the USSR. Today its 11 buildings located on a territory of 12 hectares look like a gloomy set for a horror movie.
29. Khovrino hospital, Moscow
The construction of the hospital began in the 1980s, but was never completed. For more than 30 years, its gloomy concrete skeleton has attracted drug addicts and homeless people, as well as bloggers and film industry professionals.
30. Druzhba pioneer camp, Moscow Region
The camp is notable for its preserved artefacts: Soviet playgrounds and statues of pioneers covered with moss and mold.
31. Spheres outside Naro-Fominsk, Moscow Region
These spheres are none other than abandoned positions of S-25 and A-35 missile defense systems that used to guard Moscow. There are six spheres altogether, two of which are former radars.
32. Railway station in Gorki Leninskiye, Moscow Region
Gorki Leninskiye is famous as a place where Vladimir Lenin lived and died. Most of the facilities here are open to tourists. But there is, for example, a boarded-up railway station with a headless monument to Lenin. Those who manage to get inside it risk being detained by the police.
33. Test bench in Istra, Moscow Region
These structures, which look more like a set for a sci-fi movie, were designed for testing equipment and hardware for resistance to lightning. For example, a model of an airplane would be suspended above the ground and be subjected to an electrical impulse.
34. Skazka pioneer camp, Moscow Region
This pioneer camp was built under Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and could accommodate some 300 children at a time. This is what its canteen looks like now.
35. German's House, Moscow Region
This mansion in the town of Dolgoprudny outside Moscow is guarded by the police around the clock, but remains abandoned still. It is one of the main buildings of the Vinogradovo estate. Not so long ago, it turned 100 years old.
36. Nikolskaya Church, village of Likhachevo
This place has had a bad reputation since the 17th century. The densely populated village of Likhachevo suddenly began to die out for an unknown reason. A decision was taken to build a church here, which temporarily improved things. However, something happened to each of the churches built in this place and soon trouble returned. Nikolskaya Church is the last church to be built here. In 1937, it was shut down by the Bolsheviks, and the village was completely destroyed by the Germans during World War II.
37. Christ the Savior Cathedral, Sedelnitsy
One of the most impressive abandoned churches in Russia is located in Ivanovo Region. Its dome collapsed many years ago and it was gradually overgrown with grass. Now all this looks like an art installation.
38. Sovremennik cinema theater, Ivanovo
The cinema was built at the end of 1975, but has been abandoned for the last 10 years. From time to time, its ground floor is used as a makeshift market, selling jackets, coats, fur coats or honey.
39. Graveyard of Soviet vehicles, Tula Region
This is the so-called museum of Mikhail Krasinets, who has all his life collected Soviet cars in the village of Chernousovo. However, he is unable to maintain them in good condition and refuses to sell collectible cars, so his museum in the field has gradually turned into a vehicle graveyard.
40. The Von Meck estate, village of Khruslovka
Its first owner was Baron Maximilian von Meck, the son of ‘the railway king’ Karl Otto Georg von Meck. After nationalization in 1918, all his property was handed over to the Museum of Everyday Life of Russian Nobility in Moscow, whereas the estate was used for growing beets and breeding livestock. After that, and until the 1980s, there was an orphanage there.
41. Village graveyard, Yaroslavl Region
Previously, an Assumption Convent was located here. After its abolition, a church was built in its place and a village graveyard formed around it. Now this place is abandoned.
42. Hospital, Rybinsk
This hospital for barge haulers in the neo-Russian style was built in the city of Rybinsk in 1880. Its wooden ensemble also included several more buildings, a medical assistant’s house and a chapel. In 1993, the whole complex received the status of a cultural heritage site, but no funds have been allocated for its restoration.
43. St. Mary’s Church, Saratov Region
Only a frame remains of this Roman Catholic church, which is over 100 years old. In Soviet times, the church was used as a warehouse for a tractor station, and in 2004, its domes and roof were destroyed in a fire.
44. The Khrapovitsky estate, Vladimir Region
This ruined estate in the village of Muromtsevo was once an example of European architecture and interiors, with marble fireplaces and “French gardens”. Its owner did not spare any money, inviting foreign experts to work on the manor house and its gardens. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the estate was voluntarily handed over to the state.
45. Port cranes, Dudinka
The capital of Taymyr is an outpost in the Russian Arctic and the Northern Sea Route and rusty port cranes are a familiar part of its landscape. There are new and modern cranes standing nearby, but no one is removing the old ones.
46. Pashkov’s manor, village of Vetoshkino
The manor house, which was burned down by marauders in Soviet times, had about 150 rooms and a large ballroom. Legend has it that the noble Pashkov family ordered that bricks for the construction of the manor house be taken from a monastery that had been dismantled for the purpose and that the hegumen of the monastery cursed the estate for this.
47. Tshchik reservoir, Krasnodar Territory
The abandoned spillway of the former Tshchik reservoir is located on a flooded island, which is difficult to reach without the locals’ help. It fell in disuse after the construction in 1975 of the Krasnodar reservoir.
48. House of Soviets, Kaliningrad
The highest abandoned building in Kaliningrad stands near the ruins of the Königsberg Castle, whose walls were demolished by order of the Soviet government after the occupation of the once German city. The House of Soviets in the city center was supposed to become another symbol of the new authorities, but the project was frozen after Perestroika, when it was 95-percent completed.
49. Ship graveyard, Kaliningrad Region
On one of the military docks in Baltiysk, the once restricted-access military base of the Baltic Fleet, there lies the Neukrotimy warship, sawn into many pieces. It was damaged during a naval parade in St. Petersburg in 2008, after which it was towed here.
50. Zapadny Fort, Baltyisk
The fort in the form of an irregular pentagon was built on the Vistula Spit in the middle of the 19th century and was supposed to protect the entrance to the ship channel. In 1945, it was the scene of fierce fighting between Soviet and German troops. These days, the fort is waging an unequal battle against the sea and is rapidly crumbling.
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