Lighthouses are for lovers: an Apostle Islands love story

Love can make a person do crazy things but would it be enough to make you brave nearly 25 miles of rough Lake Superior waters rowing in an open boat just to spend a few precious moments with your soulmate? Well, it would if you were Walter Daniels. 

Although best known as the keeper of the Outer Island Light from 1918-1935, Daniels also did a stint at as the Assistant Keeper at the Michigan Island Light from 1908-1910. It was during this time that the young, perhaps more impetuous Daniels found himself smitten with one Emma Hahn, the niece of Sand Island Lightkeeper Emmanuel Luick. It is said that nothing can stand in the way of young love, not tall mountains, not deep valleys, but cold, stormy Lake Superior would be a daunting test of love for anyone.

Still, according to an interview with Walter Daniels Jr. (the keeper’s son), the young keeper would hurry to finish his duties at the Michigan Island Light, get in his open boat and row nearly the entire length of the Apostle Islands chain (23 miles each way) to Sand Island, just to spend a few hours with his beloved Emma before hopping back into the boat and braving the long row back again in time to light the Michigan lamp.

Image credit: Pixabay

It was a love that overcame waves and distance, and likely blisters from the long stints at the oars, as the two would be married a few years later, spending time at both the Devils Island Light and nearly 20 years at Outer Island before retiring to the mainland in 1935.

Love will find a way, come rain or shine, wind or waves, as shown in this Apostle Islands love story. 

Show the islands some love this Valentine’s Day. Join us.


Jeff Rennicke, Executive Director

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