The Presque Isle Light Station operates both the Presque Isle Lighthouse and Erie Land Lighthouse. The organization’s mission is to ensure the preservation, restoration, and long-term maintenance and care of both lighthouses and to educate the public on the history of the lighthouses and their connection to Erie’s maritime history through active, engaging, and diverse public programming.
About This Cause
The Presque Isle Light Station (PILS) is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Light Station is responsible for the preservation, interpretation, and programming of Erie’s historic lighthouses.
As a port city, Erie has a rich maritime history that is integral to the identity of the community. Included in that history are the three historic lighthouses that tell the story of the great lakes as transportation super-highways, explore the importance of historic and current aids to navigation, provide anchor points to explore and discuss environmental changes, and illustrate the development of Erie as a major port city.
The Presque Isle Lighthouse and the Erie Land Lighthouse, each listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are under the stewardship of the Light Station. A young organization incorporated in 2015, the Light Station’s founding mission was to support the preservation and restoration of the Presque Isle Lighthouse, located on Presque Isle State Park, to a period of historic significance, provide public access to the site and to offer public programming related to the history of the site and its connection to the larger story of maritime history in the area.
The organization has consistently expanded its humanities programming offered at the Presque Isle Lighthouse and has, as recently as this April, entered into an agreement with the Erie Port Authority to operate the Erie Land Lighthouse and provide public access and programming for that site.
The humanities, specifically the study of maritime history, are central to the mission of the organization. Lighthouses have an important story to tell that transcends any one location or structure. As all goods, people, ideas and information traveled by ship, lighthouses were integral to the sharing of knowledge and the blending of cultures to create a more global thinking society. The Light Station feels strongly that it is important to connect Erie’s lighthouses to the regional, national, and global importance of lighthouses as beacons of hope.
The Light Station actively works to preserve and care for these structures, following industry best practice standards, to ensure that they are available for future generations to experience and learn from. PILS believes that historic sites are important resources for understanding the past on multiple levels and that, through the exploration of our history, we can open pathways to important conversations that help to bridge gaps in understanding, create a space for creative and diverse thinking, and reframe the past to build a better future.