“Guardians of the Great Lakes”
Episodes #1710 & 1711 Travel planner
There are thousands of shipwrecks documented on the Great Lakes, but it is the countless number of lives saved by the tirelessly working keepers of the light that we honor with our visit to some of Michigan’s Mysterious Lighthouses.
As we tour these historic guardians of the lakes, we will discover the mysterious, solitary lives led by the lighthouse keepers, and how their tales take on a life of their own, as though the walls and towers could talk. Come along as the guiding lights lead us into the past.
GUARDIANS OF THE GREAT LAKES: THE MICHIGAN SHORE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
Dan Hall is an accomplished vocalist and songwriter. From rip-your-guts-out ballads to funky country blues, he delivers hooky melodies with truth and confidence. Dan was born in 1958 and grew up during the sixties and seventies in Flint, Michigan. His first musical influences were the radio hits of the fifties. He was hooked. Then a musical revolution ensued in the sixties and seventies that continues to influence the shapes of his songs. Music is his joy and passion. He loves writing songs and loves singing them even more.
Seul Choix Point Lighthouse
Gulliver, Michigan Lake Michigan
Built 1892 | Automated 1972 | 80 feet | Active
The Seul Choix Light is a lighthouse located in the northwest corner of Lake Michigan in Schoolcraft County, Michigan. The station was established in 1892 with a temporary light, and this light started service in 1895, and was fully automated in 1972. It is an active aid to navigation. There is now a museum at the light and both the building and the grounds are open for visitors from Memorial Day until the middle of October.
Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse
Manistique, Michigan Lake Michigan
Built 1915/1917 | Automated 1969 | 50 feet | Active
The Manistique East Breakwater Light is a lighthouse is located in the harbor of Manistique, Michigan. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The Manistique East Breakwater Light is a square-plan tower approximately 38 feet tall on a cast concrete foundation. The tower is made of prefabricated steel plates bolted together and lagged to the foundation. It is surmounted by a square gallery with a decagonal cast iron lantern which contains an electrically powered fixed red Fourth Order Fresnel lens.
Peninsula Point Lighthouse
Bay De Noc Township, Michigan Lake Michigan
Built 1856/1866 | Automated 1922 | 40 feet | Deactivated 1936
Built in 1864 to aid sailing ships to avoid dangerous shoals hidden off the channels. The 1 1/2 story brick home was destroyed in 1959 by fire, but the 40 foot light tower is open. Also, a hiking trail through the wooded shoreline offers down to earth wildlife viewing. Commonly seen are ducks, geese, gulls and shorebirds. During the migration seasons look for monarch butterflies, spring warblers and blue herons. Restrooms and picnic areas are available.
Au Sable Point Light Station
Burt Township, Michigan Lake Superior
Built 1874 | Automated 1958 | 100 feet | Active
The AuSable Light Station is listed on the national register of historic places. Built in 1874 to warn mariners of a dangerous reef off of the AuSable Point. Now automated, the light station is being restored to its 1910 appearance. Guided tours are offered July and Aug., the grounds are always open, access is limited by snow from Nov.- April.
Crisp Point Lighthouse
McMillan Township, Michigan Lake Superior
Built 1904 | Deactivated 1947 | 62 feet | Museum
The Lighthouse address is 1944 CR-412, Newberry Ml 49868. It is located approximately 15 miles west of Whitefish Point in a remote area in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It was constructed in 1903 and 1904 and became operational on May 5, 1904. It was decommissioned in 1993. The lighthouse was once crowned with a fixed 360 degree, red, fourth order light and stands 58 feet from its base to the ventilator ball of the lantern. Originally this site contained a lifesaving station and quarters, a two family brick light keeper's house with basement, a brick fog signal building, an oil house, two frame barns, a boat house and landing, a tramway, a lighthouse tower, and a brick service room entrance building. Today the lighthouse stands with its newly built (2006) service building and a newly built (2009) nearby visitor's center that replicates the fog horn building. Most of the service room was washed away by Lake Superior in November of 1996. In January of 1998, the Crisp Point Lighthouse Historical Society had stone placed in front of the lighthouse tower to protect it from Lake Superior. NOTE: Do not rely on GPS directions until you get to the corner of M-123 & CR-500 or you may end up on some roads only fit for 4x4's or less. Erosion from Lake Superior is a constant concern.
Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
Eagle Harbor, Michigan Lake Superior
Built 1851/1871 | Automated 1980 | 60 feet | Active
This light is located 32 miles northeast of Houghton and was built in 1851 as an octagonal brick tower with an attached dwelling. A fog signal building was added in 1895. It is still an active light and the keeper's dwelling is operated as a public museum. The Keweenaw County Historical Society operates a fascinating nautical and historical museum in the lighthouse and surrounding buildings. A Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.
Big Sable Point Lighthouse
Ludington State Park, Michigan Lake Michigan
Built 1867 | 106 feet | Active
The Big Sable Point Lighthouse features its original keepers' quarters, which is attached to the tower. The quarters provide housing for the lighthouse's summer volunteers, a gift shop, and a video room for visitors. Several different displays highlighting the history of the lighthouse are available for guests to enjoy. Visitors can also climb the 130 steps to the watchtower room, walk out on the catwalk, and witness spectacular views of the Ludington State Park and Lake Michigan.
Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse
Ludington, Michigan Lake Michigan
Built 1871/1924 | Automated 1972 | 55 feet | Active
Listed on the top five "must do's" during your Ludington vacation.The lighthouse is located on the north breakwater pier at the end of Main Street in Ludington. The structure is made of steel plates in the shape of a four-sided pyramidal tower with four round porthole windows on each of its three decks. Each level has interesting items and pictures for visitors to explore as they make their way to the lantern rooms. At the top, guests are treated to a view of Ludington harbor.
Little Sable Point Lighthouse
Golden Township, Michigan Lake Michigan
Built 1874 | Automated 1955 | 108 feet | Active
Climb this 115 foot lighthouse to see spectacular views of the Lake Michigan shoreline and the Silver Lake dunes. Visit with volunteer keepers who will share the rich history of the lighthouse and enjoy the surrounding beach area. Little Sable Lighthouse is maintained by the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association. Admission charged to climb the tower. Guided group tours available with advance reservations.
White River Light Station
Whitehall, Michigan Lake Michigan
Built 1875 | Automated 1945 | Deactivated 1960 | Museum
A vintage 1875 lighthouse now used as a museum which offers the opportunity to see what life used to be like around the great lakes. It features photos, paintings, artifacts, and newspaper articles about the lighthouse, shipping, and lumbering. Open 6days a week May 22nd through October 31 from 10am to 5pm. Closed on Mondays. Admission $5.00 for Adults and $2.00 for children 12 and under.
Whitefish Point Lighthouse
Whitefish Township, Michigan Lake Superior
Built 1848/1864 | Automated 1970 | 80 feet | Active
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, located at Michigan’s Whitefish Point Light-Station, is approximately 1.5 hours drive from the Mackinac Bridge. With more than 200 shipwrecks lying in the immediate vicinity, the area is known as Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast. The museum features top quality exhibits of shipwreck artifacts, artwork, shipwreck models, new exhibits and lifelike mannequins. We offer a series of maritime history programs featured throughout the season. Admission includes the Shipwreck Museum gallery, a 15-minute video and tour(s) of the restored 1861 Lightkeeper’s Quarters and the 1923 Lifeboat Station Surfboat House. The bell of the famous steamer Edmund Fitzgerald is on display and serves as a memorial to her crew. The famous Whitefish Point Light Tower is open for tours, with all fees benefiting its restoration. The museum is open every day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from May 1 to October 31. Overnight lodging is available in the 1923 restored Coast Guard Lifesaving Crew’s Quarters. The Crew's Quarters is open April 1st through November 10th. Special discounted rates during April and May. Included with your Crew's Quarters overnight stay is admission to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and Whitefish Point Light Station and a 10% discount in the Shipwreck Coast Museum Store. We hope you enjoy your visit to the Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point!
Forty Mile Point Lighthouse
Rogers Township, Michigan Lake Huron
Built 1897 | Automated 1969 | 66 feet | Active
40 Mile Point Lighthouse is located on the northern shoreline of Lake Huron in Presque Isle County’s Lighthouse Park, Rogers City, Michigan. At a cost of $25,000, the station was completed by the end of 1896. Its 4th Order Fresnel lens has been a welcoming beacon to sailors since May 1897 and is still operating today. In 1996, the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse Society began restoring the lighthouse, outbuildings and grounds. Several years ago, the pilot house from the Steamer Calcite, built in 1912 and the first self-unloading steamer on the Lakes, was relocated to the reservation. The Society, with the help of many retired Great Lakes sailors, has also restored and preserved this structure. The park is open to the public year-round. The lighthouse museum, pilot house and gift shop are open 10:00am to 4:00pm Tuesday through Sunday beginning Memorial Day weekend through mid-October. Admission is free. Group tours can also be arranged. Ask about our Guest Lighthouse Keeper program.
Old Presque Isle Lighthouse
Presque Isle, Michigan Lake Huron
Built 1840 | Deactivated 1971 | 36 feet | Museum
The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse is one of the oldest surviving lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Built in 1840 by Jeremiah Moors of Detroit, the harbor light operated until 1871 when the keeper transferred to a new, taller, coastal lighthouse a mile to the north. The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse park features two main structures, a keepers dwelling and a light tower. The stone and brick tower measures thirty feet tall and eighteen feet in diameter. Visitors can climb the hand-hewn stone steps for a panoramic view of the Lake Huron shoreline and Presque Isle Harbor. Nearby is the one-story side-gabled brick keeper’s dwelling which serves as a hands-on museum with a small gift shop. Here, visitors can blow foghorns and examine other interesting artifacts. They can also ring the bell from the Lansing City Hall clock tower. Tipping the scales at an impressive 3,425 pounds, this bronze behemoth is much bigger than the Liberty Bell, which weighed 2,080 pounds when cast. Visitors may also pose for the perfect photo opportunity with head and hands in an old set of punishment stocks. The buildings and park grounds are open to the public daily, from 10am until 6pm, mid-May through mid-October. A nominal fee is charged for tower climbs.
New Presque Isle Lighthouse
Presque Isle, Michigan Lake Huron
Built 1871 | Automated 1970 | 123 feet | Active
Presque Isle Light Station is a complex of three historic buildings including a lighthouse tower and two keeper's residences. Located on the Lake Huron shoreline near Presque Isle Harbor, the New Presque Isle Light is the tallest lighthouse tower accessible by the public on the Great Lakes. Built in 1870, it replaced the 1840 harbor light. The light station complex is part of a 99-acre township park that includes a playground, picnic area, pavilion and nature trails. A gift shop and museum displays are located in the original keeper's quarters connected to the tower. Admission is free. Visitors, for a nominal fee, may climb the 130 steps to the top of the tower for a spectacular view.
The 1905 Keeper's House has been painstakingly restored. Operated by the Presque Isle Township Museum Society, it is now a museum that provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about local maritime history, as well as how keepers and their families lived. Admission is free; donations are gratefully accepted.
The buildings and grounds are open to the public daily from 10am - 6pm, mid-May through mid-October. The 1905 Keeper's House is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 11am- 4pm, Friday through Monday.
Tawas Point Lighthouse
East Tawas, Michigan Lake Huron
Built 1853/1876 | 70 feet | Active
Tawas Point State Park’s expansive day-use beach offers acres of glistening white sugar sand, sprinkled with patches of dune grass and backed by low dunes on the Lake Huron side. The jewel of the park is Tawas Point Lighthouse, built in 1876.
It is the only working model of Victorian-era light stations still in operation on the Great Lakes; and to walk through this historic structure and ascend its winding iron staircase is truly to step back in time.
Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association
Location: 707 N Huron Ave - Mackinaw City, MI 49701
Phone: (231) 436-5580
Dedicated to preservation of Great Lakes lighthouse and the stories of those who served at them. A registered non-profit association dedicated to Great Lakes lighthouse preservation and history. Originally consisting of an informal gathering of retired lighthouse keepers, their families and friends, the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA) was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1983, making it one of the nation's longest-lived lighthouse preservation groups.