Island Heritage

Ligibel, Ted and Richard Wrights. Island Heritage: A Guided Tour to Lake Erie’s Bass Island. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1987.

In my ongoing quest to find books on the Lake Erie Islands, Island Heritage is a worthwhile relic. It is dated now, but still worth a look to history/architecture seekers.

Ligibel and Wright obtained a preservation grant to document the history and architecture of Bass Island and its shipping industry. The end result is this guided tour of the Bass Islands (South, Middle, North and Gibraltar). Not a tourism board pamphlet, Island Heritage was published by Ohio State University Press, and was a byproduct of 6+ years of research.

The eight guided tours are almost exclusively looking at the architecture on the islands. It surprised me to find the number of structures on each island dating before 1880. The descriptions of each structure are full of early Bass Islands history, focused heavily on the early vintners and wineries. Continue reading


Ohio’s Lake Erie Islands: A Brief History in Words and Pictures

Waffen, Chad. Ohio’s Lake Erie Islands: A Brief History in Words and Pictures. Bay Village, Ohio: Westfalia Publishing Group, 2006.

There is a gold mine of an opportunity out there for a publisher. If someone puts out a detailed reference source on the islands of Lake Erie, I would purchase this book. It would sit on my bookshelf and once or twice a year I would browse through it. I would relish those moments as the islands have been a fascination of mine since I was a young man and I saw my first map with Sugar Island. How sweet it was. With the Internet and Wikipedia, you can somewhat find information on almost all of the defined islands and occasional islands (and occasional reefs) of Lake Erie, but the bound publication would be nice.

There are many islands in Ohio’s Great Lake. I will note that the larger of the islands (South and Middle Bass Islands, Kelleys Island, and Pelee Island) have received some treatment in regards to their history and as tourist destinations. (For fun, I would recommend reading the islands section (Tour 2B) of The Ohio Guide (1940) by the Writer’s Program of the Work Projects Administration. Who knew it cost 25 cents to take an elevator to the top of Perry’s Monument?) The Presidential history of Mouse Island has been covered (somewhat) and the secretive Rattlesnake Island Club is written up by a local paper every couple of years. But what about the rest of the islands. Who lives on Green Island? What are the Sister Islands? Has anyone every been to the Chick and Hen Islands?

Though I have never met him, I believe Waffen is a kindred spirit. Ohio’s Lake Erie Islands attempts to document each island in Ohio waters. While the description of each is brief, he does capture the essentials: size, GPS location, and population. I like knowing that there is a page (42) that is about Starve Island. And, the quality of the author’s photographs taken of the smaller islands cannot be found elsewhere.

It is a nice addition, but I want more. If you know of a guide I am missing, please let me know.