‘Bombed but not forgotten’ topic of fall Essence of Emmet program on Sept. 28; annual awards night also planned

The Essence of Emmet historical collaborative will host its second program of the year on a topic of local intrigue: the intentional bombing of Waugoshance Point lighthouse during World War II.

The program will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Community Building at the Fairgrounds, 1129 Charlevoix Ave. (U.S. 31) in Petoskey. The program is free and open to the public. Also at this event, the Essence group’s annual history awards will be bestowed upon those individuals and organizations who work hard to preserve and protect this region’s one-of-a-kind history. Categories include special programs, lifetime achievement, restoration/preservation projects and distinguished professional and volunteer.

Presenting the program, “Bombed but not forgotten” about Waugoshance will be Terry Pepper, of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association in Mackinaw City.

“Serving the treacherous Straits of Mackinac from 1851 to 1913, the Waugoshance Lighthouse may be the most unique and historically significant lighthouse on all the lakes. But that is only the opening chapter to its surprising story,” said Terry.

During the program he will offer information and photos about the World War II era drone-bombing of Waugoshance by the U.S. military in preparation for dropping bombs on Japan. He will also talk about the status of the lighthouse today and those who have worked to keep it standing. Waugoshance is located off the tip of Wilderness State Park, in the waters off northern Emmet County.

Waugoshance-Target-02-TerryPepperBorn in the United Kingdom, Pepper immigrated to Canada in 1964. Pepper first became interested in Great Lakes lighthouses while on a vacation in Michigan in 1989. Frustrated in his attempts to find accurate historical information on the lights he visited and photographed, he began spending every spare minute in libraries, museums and archives, digging up information, which he began sharing on his website “Seeing the Light” in 1995.

Pepper was asked to serve as board member of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association in 2002 and was subsequently hired as the Association’s first Executive Director in 2006, in which capacity he is actively involved in lighthouse restoration, education and advocacy.

Recognized as one of the foremost authorities on Great Lakes lighthouse history, Pepper’s writing and photography have been published in numerous books, magazines and maritime history periodicals. He speaks on lighthouse history and preservation throughout the Great Lakes, and is well known for his spirited and humorous interpretation of the stories of the men and women who served to protect mariners as they navigated their way around the treacherous lakes.
The awards portion of the evening will take place prior to Pepper’s presentation. The awards will be given by members of the Essence collaborative. Refreshments will also be served.

“Our fall program is a special one because we are able to recognize people who go above-and-beyond to keep our history alive in Emmet County. We have enjoyed great success with the Essence of Emmet group, and it’s a pleasure to recognize those around us doing great work,” said Beth Anne Eckerle, Essence member and Emmet County Communications and Web Development Director.


About the Essence of Emmet

The Essence of Emmet group works to promote this region’s rich history. Members of the Essence of Emmet include the Emmet County Historical Commission, Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, Harbor Springs Area Historical Society, Headlands International Dark Sky Park, Inland Water Route Historical Society, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Little Traverse Historical Society, Mackinac State Historic Parks, Mackinaw Area Historical Society and Pellston Historical Society. Information can be found online at www.emmetcounty.org about the group and its projects.

To receive a complimentary copy of the third of four installments of the Essence of Emmet history magazine, produced by group members, contact Beth Anne Eckerle at (231) 348-1704 or email beckerle@emmetcounty.org. You can also contact her with questions about the group or the program.

Students and senior groups interested in our history are encouraged to attend the historical programs.


Photos courtesy of Terry Pepper.





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