These Four Michigan Lighthouses Turn 150 This Year
Michigan is home to some of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes, with many that have stood strong against the elements for more than 100 years. In 2017, four Michigan lighthouses will celebrate their 150th anniversary: Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington State Park (Lake Michigan), Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse (Lake Huron), Gull Rock Lighthouse (Lake Superior), and Sand Point Lighthouse in Escanaba (Lake Michigan). Two of these lighthouses are easy to visit and are open to the public for tower climbs during the summer, while the other two are on islands and are not open to the public. Below we will give a bit of history and information about each light, as well as special events planned this year where applicable. Let’s celebrate all of these Michigan beacons that were first lit in 1867!
Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Lake Michigan – One of Michigan’s tallest lighthouses, the Big Sable Point Light‘s tower stands 112 feet tall and is painted white with a black band in the middle. The tower was originally built of brick but was later covered in cast iron plating to help it withstand the elements. This lighthouse can be reached by a 1.5 mile hike through Ludington State Park, and volunteer keepers are typically on hand to offer tower climbs – the views from the top are incredible! The 2017 Michigan Lighthouse Festival will be held in Ludington this year, August 25-27, 2017. “The weekend begins with a dinner and speaker Friday night. This will be held at the Stearns Motor Inn with author Patricia Mayor speaking about “Ladies of the Light.” Bus transportation will be available from the Ludington State Park Office to Big Sable Point Lighthouse from 12pm-5pm on Saturday.”
Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse, Lake Huron – This privately owned lighthouse is located on Bois Blanc Island, the largest of the three islands (Bois Blanc, Round, Mackinac) in the Straits of Mackinac to the east of the Mackinac Bridge. It is constructed of brick and like many other lighthouse features a 1.5 story dwelling with an attached tower. The tower is 38 feet tall. The best way to see the Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse is on the Eastbound Lighthouse Cruise from Shepler’s Ferry out of Mackinaw City.
Gull Rock Lighthouse, Lake Superior – Standing atop a rocky peak that pokes out above Lake Superior just west of Manitou Island, the Gull Rock Lighthouse can be tricky to visit. We were fortunate enough to view this lighthouse while on a charter trip with Sand Point Charters last summer (we also viewed the Manitou Island Lighthouse and the Mendota Lighthouse). This lighthouse is made of brick and has a 1.5 story dwelling with an attached tower that stands 46 feet tall. The lighthouse is painted white with a black lantern room and red roof; the only other building that remains is the yellow brick outhouse.
Sand Point Lighthouse (Escanaba), Lake Michigan – This lighthouse is a 1.5 story brick building has an attached tower that stands 44 feet tall. It warns of a sandy reef that extends out into Little Bay de Noc. The Sand Point Lighthouse is currently open as a museum, find out more about the Delta County Historical Society and the lighthouse’s hours, cost, and exhibits at http://www.deltahistorical.org/lighthouse.htm. To mark its 150th anniversary, “the Delta County Historical Society (DCHS) will be hosting a celebration on Monday, July 3 at 1:30 p.m. During the event, refreshments and free admission to both the lighthouse and DCHS museum will be offered for those who attend.”