Two Upper Peninsula Lighthouses Named As 2023 MLAP Grant Recipients
On March 24, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the 2023 recipients of the year’s Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grants. These grants are funded by the sale of the specialty “Save Our Lights” Michigan license plates, and $106,000 will be awarded this year to help restore and preserve two historic Michigan lighthouses. Both of these lighthouses are located in the Upper Peninsula and are important parts of Lake Superior maritime history. The two Upper Peninsula lighthouses receiving funds this year are the Rock of Ages Lighthouse near Isle Royale and the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse in Eagle Harbor. Read on below to find out more about them and what this year’s grant funds will be used for.
The Rock of Ages Lighthouse is one of the tallest in Michigan and dates back to 1908. It marks a shallow reef a few miles west of Isle Royale that was a very dangerous place for shipwrecks before it was constructed. The Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society has been hard at work since 2008 on restoring this lighthouse with the hopes of one day opening it to the public. They will receive $46,000 for a contractor to clean and repair the masonry of the tower and then repaint it, a project that has not been undertaken since the 1980s. If you travel to Isle Royale from Grand Portage, Minnesota you pass by this lighthouse on the trip out.
The Eagle Harbor Lighthouse is one of our favorite Keweenaw landmarks. This brick lighthouse dates back to the 1870s and has been open to the public as a museum since the 1980s. The Keweenaw County Historical Society has done an excellent job restoring the lighthouse and operating several museums on the grounds that share the history of the county, the Coast Guard, the lighthouse, and more. This is the fifth MLAP grant awarded to Eagle Harbor, and the $60,000 award will allow KCHS to “rehabilitate the tower of the lighthouse, replace deteriorated brick and repair damaged plaster.”
The “Save Our Lights” license plates can be ordered from the Secretary of State when doing your yearly renewal. Since the program’s inception in 2000 there has been more than $2.8 million in grants awarded to lighthouses in Michigan!