It wasn’t long after I had become the next light keeper of Mendota that I received a note in the mail from Dawn Herlevich asking me if she and her husband to be could get married at the lighthouse. We were in the midst of restoring the interior and exterior of the lighthouse and I really couldn’t imagine this being a viable setting for a wedding.  So I just sort of didn’t reply perhaps hoping Dawn might “forget”. But that wasn’t the case.  Soon the phone rang and it was Dawn again and I sort of told her I didn’t think it was a good idea. I mean how would you get the people across the channel, the interior was a mess and on and on. Didn’t matter, she wanted to get married there.


Dawn and Chris got married at the lighthouse on June 12, 1999. And you are asking, “what changed your mind?” Well I came to realize that Mendota meant as much to Dawn and Chris as it did to me. It wasn’t just a lighthouse…it was Mendota. And it does sit on very spiritual land I can assure you. Now how could I say no?


No one owns anything…we’re just using it. A place like Mendota should be shared. That’s what propelled me to spend five years fighting to save the land surrounding Mendota and I prevailed. More than thirteen thousand acres surrounding the lighthouse is in the hands of the Nature Conservancy now with access to the public. We can’t use everything up….we must leave something for future generations.


Gary Kohs