10 Michigan Lighthouses Will Receive USLHS and MLAP Grants After 2020 Struggles
2020 was an incredibly rough year for many of Michigan’s historic lighthouses and the preservation groups that operate them. Many of these beacons rely on visitor and tower climb fees as well as gift shop proceeds to survive, and the coronavirus pandemic kept most of them from opening their doors last year. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation recently announced the three recipients of this year’s MLAP (Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program) grants from the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, and eight Michigan lighthouses will receive grants from the United States Lighthouse Society. The funds for the MLAP grants come from the sales of “Save Our Lights” specialty license plates, while the USLHS grants come from earnings generated from investments. Below we will take a look at the 10 Michigan lighthouses that have some money coming their way, what the funds will be used for, and how you can help out lighthouses and preservation groups in 2021.
First up are the three lighthouses getting MLAP grants. The organizations receiving these grants are required to have half of the grant amount in matching funds.
Crisp Point Light (Crisp Point Light Historical Society) – $60,000 for exterior renovations. This is one of our absolute favorite Michigan lighthouses, and we promise it’s worth the lengthy backroads drive needed to get there. Sitting on the Lake Superior shoreline, this light is constantly battling sever weather, which makes upkeep and renovations a constant process.
North Manitou Shoal Light (North Manitou Light Keepers, Inc.) – $50,000 for rehabilitation and resurfacing of the watch deck. The group behind restoring this historic light near the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has done quite a bit of work already, and has future plans of allowing visitors and overnight stays. Check out their progress at https://northmanitoulightkeepers.org/.
Fort Gratiot Light (St. Clair County Parks and Recreation) – $16,667 to repair and rehabilitate the lantern room and watch room of Michigan’s oldest lighthouse. You can check out our Photo Gallery: Fort Gratiot Light for some pictures of this beautiful tower near the Blue Water Bridge.
The eight Michigan lighthouses (with links to their managing organizations) that are among 35 nationwide receiving a $1,000 grant from the USLHS are:
Fort Gratiot Light – https://www.phmuseum.org/fort-gratiot-lighthouse/
Muskegon Lights - https://www.muskegonlights.org/
Point Aux Barques Lighthouse – https://pointeauxbarqueslighthouse.org/
Point Betsie Lighthouse – https://pointbetsie.org/
Port Austin Reef Light – http://www.portaustinreeflight.org/
Presque Isle Lights – https://presqueislelighthouses.org/
Sturgeon Point Lighthouse – http://www.alconahistoricalsociety.com/index.php/admission
Whitefish Point Light Station – https://www.shipwreckmuseum.com/