These Two Michigan Lighthouses Will Receive MLAP Grants in 2022 From the “Save Our Lights” License Plates
We love Michigan lighthouses here at Travel the Mitten, and owe them a debt of gratitude for being the original catalyst for our exploration of the Great Lakes State. It’s always great to be able to share good news about the future of our historic beacons and that’s what today’s post is all about. On Thursday, March 10th the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced the two lighthouses that will receive Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grants from the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office this year. The funds for these grants come from the sales of Michigan’s “Save our Lights” specialty license plates, with $25 coming from each initial purchase and $10 coming from each renewal. This year, two Michigan lighthouses on the Lake Michigan shore will receive these grants to help with projects that will ensure that they are able to repair, maintain, and upgrade the structures for both longevity and visitor enjoyment.
The Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington State Park is managed by the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association, and will receive $40,000. “The Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association will hire a contractor to complete a historic structures report for the Big Sable Point Light Station. A historic structure report is a fundamental component of preservation planning which provides information about a property’s history, documents existing conditions and addresses management goals and rehabilitation priorities for the use or re-use of the property.”
Constructed in 1867, the Big Sable Point Lighthouse is 112 feet tall and immediately recognized by its black and white striped steel-plated tower. Visitors can hike 1.5 miles to reach the lighthouse, and then tour it and climb the tower during posted summer hours when a SPLKA volunteer is on site. Find out more at https://splka.org/big.html.
The City of Grand Haven will receive $60,000 for work on the Grand Haven Entrance Lights. “The City of Grand Haven will hire a contractor to rehabilitate the Grand Haven South Pier Entrance and Inner Lights. Proposed work will include the repair of the exterior concrete wall and deck surfaces; restoring the exterior concrete stairs; restoring the concrete curb and installing new metal flashing; and repainting.”
Established in 1839, the Grand Haven South Pier Inner and Outer Lights have become an iconic symbol of the community and are visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year. The Inner Light is a cylindrical steel tower around 50 feet tall, while the Outer Light has a 36 foot tall tower on a building that houses a foghorn and is designed like the bow of a ship to help break up ice in the winter. This is one of four places in Michigan where a catwalk still exists connecting the lighthouses to the shore (Grand Haven’s was restored in 2019) and plans call for these structures to hopefully be open for tours in the coming years.
Since its inception, the Save Our Lights program has awarded more than $2.8 milllion to help aid in the preservation of Michigan lighthouses. Michigan is home to more lighthouses than any other state, and these historic beacons continue to be popular tourist destinations. Some of the recent recipients of the MLAP grants include:
St. Helena Island Lighthouse (2020)
North Manitou Shoal Light (2019)
Grosse Ile Light (2019)
Eagle Harbor Light Station (2019)