Keeper Alfred G. Bauman at the Maumee Bay Range Light, 1945
This image shows Alfred G. Bauman, keeper of the Maumee Bay Range Lights, also known as the Maumee Bay “Straight Channel” Range Lights in 1945. Bauman was keeper from 1942-1956. Range lights (or leading lights) are an aid to navigation that help sailors either to enter or stay within a shipping channel. Range lights work in pairs, so that when the two (or sometimes three) lights are aligned one above the other, sailors know they are in a safe position in the shipping channel.
Range lights were part of a complex system of navigational aids that helped ship traffic maneuver into the Port of Toledo. Click here to learn about the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse, another part of that system. As it flows, the Maumee River, also known as “the Muddy Maumee,” continuously deposits sediment especially as it gets closer to the Maumee Bay. Historically, this made it difficult to maintain a safe shipping channel and dredging projects and improvements to the channel have been happening since the earliest days of Toledo shipping. The early shipping channel required multiple changes in course and in 1897 the dredging of a “straight channel” was undertaken.
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