Grand Island Range Lights – Christmas
If you’ve ever driven M-28 between Marquette and Munising in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, you’ve probably driven by the Grand Island Range Lights without even knowing. These once-important range lights no longer function and barely peek out above the trees and they are among the easiest lights in Michigan to visit. Also known as the Christmas Range Lights, End of the Road Range Lights, Bay Furnace Range Lights, and the Grand Island Harbor Range Lights, these lights were paired up by mariners to help them travel the dangerous passage between Grand Island and the mainland. You can visit the two lights here by parking near the “Welcome to Christmas” sign just east of the Bay Furnace historic site.
The original range lights at this location were nearly identical to the ones found at Presque Isle on our Lake Huron shore. Erected in the late 1860s, these lights served well for nearly fifty years before they needed to be replaced. Remnants of the second front range light can still be seen as you get closer to the lake.
The current rear range tower was constructed in 1913 and it is a conical cast iron tower that stands 64 feet tall. It is one of the tallest steel-plated towers on the Great Lakes, and while its lantern was removed many years ago it still stands tall and in good shape today.
The current front range light was first lit in the 1980s. It is a white cylindrical steel tower that stands around 20 feet tall. While it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing light, it is still functional.
If you park on the side of the road by the “Welcome to Christmas Michigan” sign shown above, you’ll be able to see the white front range light on the north side of the road. You will also be able to see the tower of the rear range light peeking out above the trees. There is a driveway/path that leads back to the light.