Hayes Scriven’s dream job at Split Rock Lighthouse
November 10th, 2023, marked the 48th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald and the loss of her 29 crew members. Over 1500 people attended the annual memorial beacon lighting at Split Rock Lighthouse this year. The date also marked a more cheerful anniversary for Hayes Scriven: four years as site manager of Split Rock Lighthouse.
“It is a unique place to live. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world,” says Scriven. “The first time I saw (the beacon) lit was actually my first day here on-site, four years ago. I’d never seen the beacon on. Watching the ceremony, listening to it, and then having the light come on was really moving. ”
The U.S. Coast Guard participated in the ceremony for the first time, with 22 Guardsmen standing at attention on the lighthouse steps during the proceedings. Commander Dewitz, from the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Duluth, spoke about the many safety improvements implemented after the sinking of the Fitzgerald. The Lighthouse Quartet then performed the Naval Hymn.
As is tradition, the “Muster of the Last Watch” honors the entire Edmund Fitzgerald crew by name. All 29 crew members’ names were read with a ringing of the bell, followed by a 30th and final toll for all lost sailors on the Great Lakes. Then it was time for the big moment – the lighting of the decommissioned Split Rock Lighthouse beacon, a tradition going back to November 1985 when previous longtime site manager Lee Radzak heard Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and decided to turn on the beacon as a tribute.
WTIP’s Chuck Olsen spoke with Hayes Scriven about the Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Beacon Lighting and his life as site manager of Split Rock Lighthouse. Audio from the interview and video of the ceremony is below.