Visiting Tionesta’s Unusual Sherman Memorial Lighthouse
Over the past few years, I’ve done a lot of traveling throughout every corner of Pennsylvania, and, without a doubt, one of the strangest things I’ve seen is the Sherman Memorial Lighthouse in Tionesta.
Located on a peninsula at the confluence of the Allegheny River and Tionesta Creek, the lighthouse is certainly an odd site. Since it’s located near water, it takes a second to realize that it provides no assistance to navigating ships. In fact, Tionesta’s lighthouse sits roughly 60 miles from the nearest navigable body of water, Lake Erie.
So, if it serves no purpose, why’s there a lighthouse in the middle of Forest County?
Ultimately, that’s still a question that I’m a bit confused about. However, according to the signage near the lighthouse, it was built by Tionesta native Jack Sherman to preserve his family’s heritage.
The lighthouse was completed in 2004 after a year of construction. It stands 75-feet tall with a working light at the top. Inside, Tionesta’s lighthouse has 76 stairs that cover 7 floors between the basement and the top of the structure. Each floor has a display of either Sherman’s family heritage or his impressive collection of lighthouse miniatures and artwork. Unfortunately, though, the lighthouse is only open to visitors a few days each year. (Opening dates can be found on the Tionesta Lions Club’s website.)
However, even if you can’t get into the lighthouse, the grounds still provide an interesting destination for those in the area. Encircling the peninsula known as Lighthouse Island is a 1-mile walking path that provides a nice, flat stroll around the grounds and great views of the lighthouse.Along the far side of the island, where Tionesta Creek meets the Allegheny River, there is a historical sign. There are also several places that are great for fishing including a pier designed for the handicapped.
It’s also possible to walk right up to the lighthouse, where a few signs are placed that explain the history of the lighthouse.
If you happen to be in the vicinity of Tionesta, Pennsylvania, I would definitely recommend a stop at the Sherman Memorial Lighthouse. Even better, take a look at when the lighthouse will be open and plan a visit to see one of Pennsylvania’s most unusual buildings.