Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse, Lake Michigan
Many lighthouses in West Michigan have become local icons thanks to their bright red color (Grand Haven, Holland, South Haven, Muskegon) and there are a few in the Upper Peninsula that stand out with their bright red color as well (Menominee, Marquette) – today we take a look at the Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse, a 1916 tower that marks the harbor entry to what was once a booming timber and iron port. Located at the end of a breakwater and easily accessible from the Manistique Boardwalk and River Trail.
Manistique is located where the Manistique River meets Lake Michigan. This town saw a great deal of activity from the logging industry (with a mill that once employed about 1/3 of the town’s population) and a lighthouse was deemed necessary to help guide ships into port and mark the harbor of refuge. The area is no longer deeply involved in industry, but now is a popular spot for tourism thanks to its proximity to Lake Michigan, Fayette Historic State Park, Indian Lake State Park and the Big Spring Kitch-iti-kipi, many outdoor recreation trails, and more.
The Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse is a square tower made of reinforced steel plates on a concrete foundation. It stands 38 feet tall and is painted red with a black lantern room. In 1969 the light was automated, as its Fourth Order Fresnel Lens was removed and replaced with a modern optic. The breakwater is a popular spot for fishing and walking, and the light itself has also become a popular stopping point. There is a nice beach next to the breakwater, plenty of parking, and several informational plaques along the boardwalk that tell about the area’s history.
The lighthouse is easily visible from many locations along US-2 as you drive through Manistique. The best parking area is located at Lakeview Park, on the opposite side of the road from Big Boy.
Other area attractions to check out:
historic Manistique water tower