Five Michigan Lighthouses Will Receive USLHS Grants to Provide Pandemic Relief
Many businesses have struggled during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, and one of the hardest hit tourism locations have been lighthouses. Lighthouses that are open to the public as nonprofit museums have been unable to have any money coming in, as federal and state regulations have prevented them from opening for the summer. The United States Lighthouse Society recently announced that 24 lighthouses in the United States will be receiving grants to help with bills and expenses, and five Michigan lighthouses were on the list. Below we will take a look at each of these five lighthouses, including where they are located, what projects they have been working on, and more.
The USLHS press release stated: “The USLHS Preservation Grants Program directs our 2020 grants to 24 lighthouses struggling, due to Covid19. These are tough times, for all of us. The financial hardship caused by this pandemic has slowed travel and tourism, making it so much harder for lighthouse groups dependent on gate receipts for most of their operating budgets – to share the legacy of the lights they work to preserve. Since its inception, the United States Lighthouse Society lighthouse preservation grant program has awarded funds to many not-for-profit lighthouse organizations across the nation, all designed to help restore or preserve the lights we all love – what is commonly referred to as “bricks and mortar” projects. This year, in light of Coronavirus, we took a new direction and awarded grants to help preserve lighthouse organizations themselves with emergency relief grants similar to what the Federal government has done for all the citizens of the US. We are pleased to announce that the Society has made 24 grants to help ease the financial stress on lighthouse preservation groups that need financial help and encouragement, to see these tough times through.” One way the USLHS brings in money is through the Lighthouse Passport program, which you can read more about in our article that features Michigan locations that participate.
Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum – Located in Leelanau State Park north of Traverse City, the Grand Traverse Lighthouse was built in 1858. It has a 41 foot tall tower atop a two-story dwelling. The lighthouse and its gift shop were able to open for tours at the end of June, but tower climbs will not be offered this year. Find out more at https://www.grandtraverselighthouse.com/.
White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society – One of Michigan’s tallest and most recognizable lighthouses is the White Shoal Light, located west of the Mackinac Bridge in Lake Michigan. A popular stop on Shepler’s Westbound Lighthouse Cruises, the 121 foot tall White Shoal Light with a unique red and white barber pole paint scheme “was obtained at an online General Services Administration auction in September 2016. The winning bid of $110,009.00 was placed by co-owners Brent Tompkins of Traverse City, Michigan and Mike Lynch of Weidman, Michigan. Both are licensed contractors and plan to use their skills and training in abatement and historical restoration at White Shoal Light.” The WLHPS unfortunately had to cancel their 2020 season of tours and overnight stays: “The activities at our offshore lighthouse require tremendous planning to be able to organize and safely host teams of volunteers, tour visitors, overnight guests and our isolation challenge winners. Our ability to perform this necessary advance logistical and safety measure planning becomes more complicated in light of the current Covid-19 situation. We will begin issuing refunds to all volunteers, guests, and isolation challenge winners in the order they were scheduled. Though we are missing the opportunity this year to celebrate our 110th anniversary season, we look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2021.” Find out more at https://www.preservewhiteshoal.org/.
Crisp Point Light Historical Society – One of Michigan’s most photogenic Lake Superior lighthouses is also one of the more difficult to reach on the mainland. The Crisp Point Light requires a back road drive of nearly 20 miles, but rewards visitors with miles of unspoiled shoreline and a restored lighthouse that stands 58 feet tall. The Crisp Point Light Historical Society has done extensive work at this site, preventing the lighthouse from falling into the lake and shoring it up against further erosion. Find out more about their ongoing efforts at http://crisppointlighthouse.org/.
Whitefish Point Lighthouse and Great Lake Shipwreck Historical Society – Whitefish Point is home to a historic lighthouse and life saving station complex as well as the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The light here was constructed while Abraham Lincoln was President, and it marks a dangerous spot on Lake Superior that has claimed more than 200 ships. While this popular spot near Tahquamenon Falls was finally able to open for the season, they missed out on several months of income during the pandemic.
Seul Choix Point Lighthouse and Gulliver Historical Society – This beautiful lighthouse on Lake Michigan has long been a favorite stop for motorists on US-2, but there has been a severe decline in visitors this year due to the complex opening two months later than normal and the tower not being open for climbing. The Gulliver Historical Society recently started a Gofundme to offset the cost of paying for billboard repairs, gutters, and merchandise to stock their gift shop. Find out more about their efforts at https://www.greatlakelighthouse.com/. Be sure to check out our Photo Gallery: Seul Choix Point Lighthouse for a better look at what this museum complex has to offer.