A big week ahead in a most beautiful place


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I’m excited to share this news release about the readings and signings I’ll do in the Apostle Islands area next week for my book, The Lighthouse on Devils Island. If you’re there next week, I’d love to see you.


An author from St. Louis, Mo. will be in the Bayfield-Ashland area the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5 to promote his recently-published second book about the lighthouses of the Apostle Islands.

Jim Merkel is scheduled to appear at five separate events to discuss, read or sign his new novel, The Lighthouse on Devils Island.

            Set in the summer of 1928, the novel focuses on how the bitter old keeper of the Devils Island Lighthouse finds peace with himself and concludes he hasn’t wasted his life at lighthouses. The instrument of Keeper Owen McClatchy’s redemption is a new first assistant keeper and his family, just up from St. Louis.

Merkel, who has been visiting the Apostle Islands with his wife for the last 20 years, took pains to ensure the book accurately depicts the region and its lighthouses in 1928. He includes a visit by President Calvin Coolidge to Devils Island that occurred on August 22, 1928.

He strayed on one point, by having a fisherman and his family summering in a shack on the south end of Devils Island. The fisherman’s family intermingles with the first keeper’s family, Keeper McClatchy, McClatchy’s hobbling dog, a quiet bachelor second keeper and various folks who wander onto the island throughout the summer.

In the book’s pages are a rescue from a burning yacht, a con man, tales of bravery and revelations of the keeper’s secret past that have left his hopeless.

The artwork on the front and back covers are watercolors of Devils Island and its lighthouse by artist Austin Miller of Bayfield.

Merkel’s first book about the Apostle Islands, Majestic Lights: The Apostle Islands Lighthouses, tells the stories of the six Apostle Islands lighthouses and the Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light, along with other particulars of lighthouses in the region. It has sold in local stores since 2001.

He is a lifelong journalist and the author of three books about St. Louis history published by the St. Louis regional publishing house Reedy Press. They are Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis’s South Side; Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans; and The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, the Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch.

The events will be at the following locations:

  • Sept 1, Signing at Mission Hill Coffee House, 105-106 Lakeview Place, LaPointe, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • September 2, Short readings during excusion to Devils Island on the Ashland Bay Express, scheduled as part of Apostle Islands Lighthouse Celebration, depart 10:30am – return 4:00pm, buy tickets through http://www.lighthousecelebration.com.
    September 2: 7 p.m., Reading at Madeline Island Museum.
    September 3: 6 p.m., Reading and signing at Spinster Books, 313 W. Main St., Ashland
    September 5, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., book signing, Keeper of the Light Gift Store, 19 Front St. Bayfield.

The books are available through Amazon.com and at such local outlets as Mission Hill Coffee House and the Madeline Island Museum in LaPointe, Keeper of the Light Gift Shop, Seagull Bay Motel, 325 S. Seventh St., and Austin Miller Studio and Gallery, 33615 Ski Hill Road, Bayfield; and Spinster Books, Ashland.


Published by Jim Merkel

Reedy Press published four of my books, Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2010; Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, 2012; The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch; and the Second Edition of Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2014. They're available in bookstores and online. For an autographed copy, send a check for $21.50 made out to Jim Merkel, to Jim Merkel, 4216 Osceola St., St. Louis, MO 63116.

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