Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Guest Blog with Erica Vetsch

There’s something romantic about a lighthouse. The emotion that a solitary column and blazing beacon evoke forms a lump in my throat. Perhaps it’s the images in my mind of the courageous men and women who care for the lights, who risk everything and sacrifice much to ensure the lights stays lit. Perhaps it’s the symbolism, so often used in hymns and spiritual applications, of sailors tossed and helpless, lacking direction, and then the light shines out and they are able to navigate once again. Perhaps it is because I’m a Kansas girl, landlocked since birth, that the almost exotic nature of vast bodies of water and the people who live there prick my curiosity. Whatever it is about them, lighthouses draw me.

The Marriage Masquerade story came about because of a trip I made to one of America’s most recognizable lighthouses. Perched on a 130 foot cliff over tempestuous Lake Superior, the sturdy tower and fog house of Split Rock Lighthouse have stood for 100 years. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the location and knew right away I wanted to set a story there. I was thrilled when Ashley Schrock, Creative Director at Barbour, worked Split Rock into the cover art for The Marriage Masquerade. It’s everything I dreamed it would be.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first lighting of Split Rock Light. After devastating storms in 1905 in which 78 sailors lost their lives, 19 ships were wrecked or lost, and more than $2 million dollars in damages were incurred, the shipping tycoons of the day demanded the U.S. Government aid them by building more lighthouses.

Split Rock was designed by Ralph Russell Tinkham, who would go on to become the chief engineer of the entire US Lighthouse service, building lighthouses in places like Alaska and Hawaii before the end of his career. But Split Rock, in addition to being (in my opinion) his most beautiful and challenging job, launched his career.

Because of advances in navigational technology, the lighthouse at Split Rock is no longer in service. It now belongs to the Minnesota Historical Society and the people of Minnesota. Every year, the Society lights the lamp at Split Rock on November 10th, to commemorate the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the lighthouse, several special activities are planned along with the regular tours and programs. One of these special activities is the weekly lighting of the Frenel lens in the tower.

If you ever have the chance to visit Split Rock, I encourage you to go. It’s a powerful experience to stand on that cliff, to feel the surge and flow of Lake Superior like some giant heartbeat, and to feel the cool breeze flowing in off the water. To hear about the men who served there, the trials they encountered, and the dedication and sacrifice they showed, making that light and the safety of lake sailors their only priority.

To learn more about Split Rock Lighthouse, visit the Minnesota State Historical Society website HERE.

The photo at the top was taken by my husband on one of our trips to Split Rock. My son tried to personally fill in Lake Superior at the base of the cliff. He threw so many rocks in the water, I'm certain he raised the level of the lake.

Question of the Day: Is there a site you've visited or long to visit that evokes an emotional response?


  1. Great post, Erica!

    I've only had the chance to do a quick one-day tour of Yellowstone National Park, but in that one day I was just absolutely astounded at the awesomeness of our Creator! What an amazingly beautiful and diverse place that is. My emotional response was just complete awe at how big and cool and creative our God is!!!

  2. Interesting to hear how Split Rock light came to be. I just love the colors and the image of book cover.

  3. I love lighthouses. They do draw something out of you.
    My favorite spot was Angel Lodge right next to the trail that leads down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Felt like I was living in the old days, as our room had a log cabin look, and our window view saw the donkeys taking people down the trail. So rustic and romantic.

  4. I have been a lot of places as the daughter of a history buff. My dad's love has certainly become my own. I have been to several forts and lighthouses around the Great Lakes, Civil War battlefields, Washington DC, and Yellowstone. I definitely have to say that Gettysburg invokes the most emotion for me. There is just something about that place that is indescribable.

  5. Lighthouses have always fascinated me, great photo!

    I would love to visit the Civil War memorials. There is just something about standing on soil where history was made. And the Civil War has always been my favorite history subject. You might say I'm obsessed with it. :)

  6. Aaron McCarverFebruary 17, 2010

    Well, it's more a place a grew up in. But I guess it's a place I visit now, so I will say East Tennessee. The emotions come each season. The summer is so green and fresh and makes me think of my ancestors traveling those hills to make new lives so long ago. The winter, when it snows, shows a bright cleanness, just what Our Father does to our hearts when we turn to Him. The spring shows new life, new hope, new promise. The same comes from our Father after the cleaning as He blooms in our hearts and lives. My favorite is the fall. There is nothing like the Appalachian Mountains in the fall with all of the colors! It is simply breathtaking! It makes me think of our Father with a palette and a brush adding the colors as the Supreme Artist. And then I am reminded that the same Artist used His hands to lovingly molded us in His image in Creation and still lovingly molds us every day to look more and more like that image He first created. What an amazing Father!

  7. Very cool that the inspiration for the book made it onto the front cover! Love it!

    I think my favorite site is Forestville, MN. It's close by and is quite the treasure. The owner of the general store just locked up the doors and left, leaving the entire store intact! The site is now staffed with history re-enactors who give tours of the store, the store owner's house, the barns, and the wagon shed. Definately tops my list of favorite sites!


  8. Wonderful post, Erica! I have a very nice collection of lighthouse "figurines" I've collected over the years (most have been given to me as gifts by family and friends) and also lighthouse books! I LOVE lighthouses! (although I've only visited 3 "in person").~ I think to me they really symbolize my Lord always being there---like a beacon of light to guide me through any storm. ~ Since I love lighthouses so much, I am hoping to visit more (especially some along the Atlantic coast). Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

  9. I'm landlocked too, Erica. Once several years back, we went to Galveston. One of these days I'm going to get back to the ocean. I don't want to swim in it. I just want to walk along the shore and pick up seashells. I don't know how anyone can look at the intricacy in a seashell and not believe in God.

    Awesome book cover!

  10. Beautiful picture!

    Deborah M.