Lake Erie Islands give history buffs the opportunity to immerse themselves in multiple historical arenas. Whether ice-age geology, marine shipping development, naval battles, or Mid-West settlement/culture, there is much to learn and experience on the Bass Islands and Kelleys Island.
Perhaps most popular is Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial at Put-in-Bay. The 352-foot (107m) Doric column with observation deck and the visitor’s center celebrate the long-lasting peace among Britain, Canada and the U.S. The Memorial column sits only five miles from the US-Canadian border.
Also in the village of Put-in-Bay, the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society museum has artifacts on display about local history and culture, as well Centennial and Bicentennial celebrations of the Battle of Lake Erie. A visit to South Bass Island Lighthouse, a National Historic Register Landmark, informs one about the significant shipping industry of bygone days.
Middle Bass Island offers a glimpse of business interests which shaped the character of the Lake Erie Islands. Lonz Winery, formerly a bustling production and entertainment facility, now preserves the unique flavor of wine-making history in a restored plaza and state park. Travel between Middle Bass Island and The Boardwalk at Put-in-Bay comes courtesy of the Sonny-S Boat Line. The Sonny-S, a NOLAN 50.5-foot passenger ferry built in 1948, started as a gill-net fishing vessel and continues in the family-owned and operated service.
Not least in importance is the cultural history at Kelleys Island. A visit to the Kelleys Island Historical Association reveals more than a boatload of information about glacial grooves, Indian tribal heritage, island fishing and limestone mining, as well as grape-growing.