Own a Michigan Lighthouse

Own a Michigan Lighthouse – Two Michigan Lighthouses Up for Sale

Have you ever wanted to own a Michigan lighthouse? How about a lighthouse in our great #PureMichigan state? You may be in luck if you have some extra money laying around. Two Michigan lighthouses were recently put up for sale.

Poe Reef Light Lake Huron

The Poe Reef Lighthouse if viewable from the Cheboygan Crib Light. This lighthouse is six miles east of Cheboygan and serves as a navigational aid between Cheboygan and Bois Blanc Island. The lighthouse is 56 feet tall and with its large base sits 71 feet above the water.

We have been fortunate to view the Poe Reef Lighthouse over the years during our many trips to Cheboygan. For an up close view of the lighthouse, you can also take the Shepler’s Ferry Eastbound Lighthouse Tour.

Poe Reef Lighthouse Vertical

The Poe Reef Lighthouse is named for Orlando Poe, the engineer of the Poe Lock at the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie. Poe also served as the designer for several Great Lakes lighthouses, including Seoul Choix, Spectacle Reef, and Little Sable Point.

Poe Reef Light Sheplers Cruise

Bids (sale link here) on Poe Reef Lighthouse start at $50,000 and a current bid sits at $51,000. Back in 2017, the Poe Reef Lighthouse was sold for $112,111, but the winning bidder defaulted on the bid. I would expect this one to gather some interest from bidders.

The Ontonagon Breakwater Lighthouse is the other Michigan lighthouse up for sale. This lighthouse is a small structure that serves as the marking point of the entrance of the Ontonagon River from Lake Superior. This lighthouse is the westernmost lighthouse in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The nearby Ontonagon Lighthouse is owned by the county. Bids on this lighthouse start at only $5,000.

Ontonagon West Pierhead Light - Ontonagon

Both lighthouses up for sale come with several rules on bidding and owning the property. The biggest stipulation is the navigational equipment on the lighthouse will remain and be property of the government. The other big piece is forming a nonprofit organization to make a bid.

If you have plans on buying a lighthouse and turning it into a multi-million opportunity as a tourist destination, chances are it won’t make it. Lighthouses are sold every couple years in Michigan and the individuals and organizations that purchase them can attest to the thousands of labor hours and out-of-pocket costs that come along with owning a lighthouse. This article from the Detroit Free Press points out the high costs associated with purchasing and restoring a lighthouse, featuring quotes from the late Terry Pepper.

Over the last several years, several Michigan lighthouses have sold and have restoration programs under way. We recently reported on White Shoal opening its doors to visitors for the first time this summer. That lighthouse sold for $110,009 in 2016. The North Manitou Lighthouse sold for $73,000 in 2016 and is currently restoring with plans of opening its doors to visitors. The DeTour Reef Lighthouse is currently the only Michigan offshore lighthouse where guests can stay overnight through its Volunteer Light Keeper Program. This came after years of restoration and a substantial amount of money went into getting the lighthouse back in living condition.

If you can’t buy a lighthouse, you could always stay in one of the many Michigan lighthouses that offer overnight accommodations. One can dream though of owning a lighthouse and perhaps someone reading this will have the funds and time necessary to make the winning bid and one day allow us to tour one of these lighthouses.