On The Road: Peace on Lake Erie

By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, September 06, 2013, 7:13 AM EDT

In western Lake Erie, Between the Ohio mainland and Canada, stands a monument built for peace.

"We sit here five miles from the Canadian border,” explains Emmett Keeler, a National Park Guide. "It's the longest, undefended border in the world.”

On South Bass Island, also known as Put-In-Bay, Ohio stands "Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial." At 352-feet-tall, the circular, Greek Doric column is the tallest of its kind in the world.

"It was designed that way to stick out as one of the tallest attractions on Lake Erie,” shares Jeff Helmer, a park ranger with the Department of the Interior.

On these waters this past Labor Day, mariners paid tribute to the fight that established the U.S. border 200 years ago.

"The war is the Battle of Lake Erie, September 10th, 1813 when Oliver Hazard Perry defeated Robert Heriot Barclay, an American fleet vs. a British fleet for control of Lake Erie during The War of 1812."

One hundred years after the battle, the monument to Perry's victory started rising. Although the cornerstone was completed back in 1913, and has seen several upgrades since then, some of the technology inside is still original.

Climb the winding staircase to the 1930s era ticket counter, then ride the elevator to the top for an unspoiled view of where the battle took place.

"It's neat. You can see a lot of the neighboring islands, you can see a couple of islands that are part of Canada,” comments Dan Reigle, visiting northern Ohio from Palm Harbor, Florida.

Dan, a Pinellas County resident, enjoys the view from the top and reflecting on the past.

"I think that is part of the attraction to coming up here,” concludes Jeff.

Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial" is accessible only by ferry boat from Ohio's mainland or an airplane ride to South Bass Island. You can find South Bass Island located on the American side of Lake Erie just off the Ohio mainland of Port Clinton.