Fourteen Foot Shoal Light, Lake Huron
The Fourteen Foot Shoal Light is one of five lighthouses in or near Cheboygan, Michigan. The lighthouse’s name comes from the fact that Lake Huron is only 14 feet deep at this point, which is incredibly dangerous for boat traffic. The Fourteen Foot Shoal Light (south) works with the Poe Reef Light (north) to mark a narrow channel that is safe for freighter traffic in the northern part of Lake Huron. Any marine traffic headed from Lake Huron to Chicago must make its way through this point, and as Great Lakes freighters grew in size marking reefs and shoals like this one became a much more important task.
A timber and concrete crib provides the base for this light. The cylindrical steel tower rises out of a rectangular one-story building with a sloped roof. All told, the focal plane for this light is over 50 feet, giving it a visibility range of up to 14 miles. This was designed to be a remotely operated (from Poe Reef) light, rather than one with a permanent keeper. The Fourteen Foot Shoal Light went into service in 1930 and it is still an active aid to navigation. It features a paint scheme that is mostly white with red trim.
In addition to this light and the Poe Reef Light offshore in Lake Huron, the Cheboygan Crib Light and Cheboygan River Range Light can be found on the mainland in Cheboygan. The Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse is seven miles away to the north. It is possible to get a distant view of Fourteen Foot Shoal and Poe Reef from the Cheboygan Crib Light. The best way to view the Fourteen Foot Shoal Light is to take an eastbound lighthouse cruise with Shepler’s Ferry out of Mackinaw City. This trip includes the Round Island Lighthouse, Round Island Passage Light, and the other lighthouse mentioned earlier in this paragraph.