Lighthouses of the United States: Michigan's Northeastern Lower Peninsula

The U.S. state of Michigan comes in two parts: the Lower Peninsula (between Lakes Huron and Michigan) and the Upper Peninsula (between Lakes Michigan and Superior). Putting the two together, the state has an astonishingly long coastline, so it is not surprising that Michigan has more lighthouses than any other U.S. state, by quite a large margin. The Directory has information on more than 130 sites.

This lighthouse heritage is well recognized. Michigan is the only state that supports lighthouse preservation with a program of annual grants from the state to local preservation groups. All over the state, volunteers are working hard to save and restore lighthouses. There is a state preservation society, the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, and the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association is also based in the state.

This page lists lighthouses on the northeast coast of the Lower Peninsula from Cheboyan to Saginaw Bay. There's another page for the southeastern coast, one for the west coast (Lake Michigan) and others for the eastern and western Upper Peninsula.

Aids to navigation in Michigan are maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District; Aids to Navigation (ANT) teams are based at Sault Sainte Marie and Saginaw River. Ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Along the Canadian border, CCG numbers are from the List of Lights, Buoys, and Fog Signals of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. USCG numbers are from Volume VII of the United States Coast Guard Light List.

General Sources
Seeing the Lights: The Lighthouses of Michigan
A wonderful site by Terry Pepper, with fine photos, accounts of recent visits to many of the lighthouses, and extensive historical information.
Michigan Lighthouses
Excellent photos and information posted by Kraig Anderson.
Lighthouses of the Great Lakes
Maintained by Neil Schultheiss, this very fine site has excellent photos and accounts for most of the state's lighthouses.
Lighthouses in Michigan, United States
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Lake Huron Lighthouses
Photos by C.W. Bash.
Lighthouses of the Great Lakes
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Detroit River Lights
Photos taken in August 2007 and posted by Noah Greenia.
Leuchttürme USA auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association
GLLKA encourages lighthouse preservation throughout the Great Lakes states, but it is best known for its work preserving the Round Island and St. Helena Island Lights in the Straits of Mackinac area. The association has an excellent blog.
Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy
This organization is dedicated to the preservation of lighthouses and life saving stations throughout the state.
Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP)
This state program provides grants annually for lighthouse preservation.
NOAA Nautical Chart On-Line Viewer: Great Lakes
Nautical charts for the coast can be viewed online.
U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center: Light Lists
The USCG Light List can be downloaded in pdf format.
 

New Presque Isle Light
New Presque Isle Light, Presque Isle, October 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre

Spectacle Reef Light
Spectacle Reef Light, Lake Huron, March 2009
Wikimedia public domain photo by U.S. Coast Guard

Cheboygan County (South Channel) Lighthouses
Note: The Straits of Mackinac (pronounced "mackinaw") connect Lake Huron on the east and Lake Michigan on the west, separating Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Bois Blanc Island divides the eastern part of the strait into the North Channel and South Channel. The Mackinac Bridge, completed in 1957, carries the I-75 expressway across the narrowest passage of the strait near Mackinaw City.
* Cheboygan Crib
1884. Inactive since 1984. 25 ft (7.5 m) octagonal cast iron tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white, gallery gray, lantern roof red. Nearby on the pierhead is an active light (focal plane 25 ft (7.5 m); red flash every 4 s) on a white D9 tower. Eric Rae's photo is at right, Anderson's page for the lighthouse has several photos, Skip Barnes also has a fine 2007 photo, Nedzad Bajramovic has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. This light was maintained by keepers from the Cheboygan Range station. The Coast Guard has a 1904 photo of the lighthouse at its original location on a crib off the entrance to the Cheboygan River. Deactivated in 1984, the lighthouse was was leaning dangerously before its relocation onshore in 1987. In fall 2001 GLLKA volunteers Dick Moehl and Sandy Planisek painted and refurbished the tower. In 2003 the city discovered it did not actually own the lighthouse when the General Services Administration declared it to be excess federal property. Steps were quickly taken to get clear title. Located at the foot of the breakwater on the west side of the river mouth at the end of Huron Street in downtown Cheboygan. Accessible by a short walk from the Cheboygan County Marina. Site open, tower closed except for an occasional open house. Owner/site manager: City of Cheboygan (Gordon Turner Park). ARLHS USA-160.
** Cheboygan River Range Front
1880. Active; focal plane 45 ft (13.5 m); continuous red light. Approx. 40 ft (12 m) square cylindrical wood tower attached church-style to 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house; a red locomotive-style lamp and a large red-striped daymark are mounted on the front of the tower. Building painted white. The circular cast iron oil house is also preserved. Anderson's page has good photos, Paul Hancock has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. The building formerly housed local offices of the Coast Guard and the Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2001 it was declared surplus by the federal government and made available for transfer under NHLPA. In December 2003 the Great Lakes Lightkeepers Association received access to the building to begin restoration, and ownership was transferred formally to GLLKA on June 4, 2004. In 2005 the state granted $14,000 for a pre-restoration engineering study of the building, and in May the lighthouse opened for guided tours. In 2009 the lantern and gallery were restored. $300,000 is needed to complet the restoration; fundraising is in progress. Located on the Cheboygan River at First and Water Streets in downtown Cheboygan. Site open, building and tower open to guided tours on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day (late May) through Labor Day (early September). Owner/site manager: Great Lakes Lightkeepers Association (Cheboygan River Front Range Light). ARLHS USA-162; USCG 7-11790.
Cheboygan Crib Light
Cheboygan Crib Light, Cheboygan, March 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Eric Rae
* Cheboygan River Range Rear (3?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 75 ft (23 m); continuous red light. 80 ft (24.5 m) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower with gallery; the front of the tower carries a large rectangular daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. C.M. Hanchey has a closeup photo, Pepper has a photo, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view from the State Street Bridge. The original lighthouse, a wooden skeletal tower, was replaced by a pyramidal steel skeletal tower in 1900. Located 1115 ft (340 m) west southwest of the front light. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-163; USCG 11795.
Fourteen Foot Shoal
1930. Active; focal plane 55 ft (17 m); white light occulting every 4 s. 55 ft (17 m) round steel tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the center of a 1-story workhouse and fog signal building; solar-powered 250 mm lens. Lighthouse painted white, lantern roof red. Fog horn (blast every 15 s) when needed. Anderson's page features good aerial photos, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. The light tower of this lighthouse was originally the Vidal Shoals Channel Range Front Light, built in 1899 in Sault Sainte Marie and raised in height in 1904. The lighthouse was never staffed; it was operated by remote control from Poe Reef (see below). In 2002 it was painted and refurbished by the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw. In July 2017 the station was placed on auction sale by the General Services Administration, and in September it sold for $133,333. New owners Jerry Persons and Joseph Niewiek have founded a preservation group and begun restoration work. Located on a shoal off the east side of the entrance to Cheboygan Harbor. Visible from Cheboygan Crib Light and from Lighthouse Point in Cheboygan State Park. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Lake Huron Lighthouse Preservation Society . ARLHS USA-306; USCG 7-11765.

Fourteen Foot Shoal Light, Cheboygan, Auguts 2001
Wikipedia Creative Commons photo by Charles Bash
[Cheboygan Main]
1859. Inactive since about 1930. Demolished by the Coast Guard during the 1940s, this was a "schoolhouse" lighthouse, similar to the Pottawatomie and Port Washington Lights in Wisconsin. Anderson has a page for the light station, and the Coast Guard has a historic photo. Only the foundation of the building remains; Bing has a satellite view. Located at Lighthouse Point on the east side of Cheboygan harbor. Accessible by a hiking trail about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) long starting at the state park campground. Site open. Owner/site manager: Michigan Department of Natural Resources (Cheboygan State Park). ARLHS USA-161.
Poe Reef
1929 (lightship station established 1892). Active; focal plane 71 ft (21.5 m); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 60 ft (18 m) square cylindrical reinforced concrete tower with lantern and gallery, incorporating 3-story keeper's house and a fourth-floor watch room; solar-powered 375 mm lens. The tower is painted black with a broad white band encompassing two floors. Fog horn (blast every 30 s) when needed. C.M. Hanchey's photo is at right, Anderson's page has good aerial photos, Bash has a photo, Schultheiss has a page with Dave Wobser's photo, and the Coast Guard has a 1932 photo. The lighthouse is a sibling of the Martin Reef Light (see Eastern Upper Michigan). In 2013 the lighthouse became available for transfer under NHLPA, but no suitable groups requested ownership. In July 2017 the station was placed on auction sale by the General Services Administration, and in September it sold for $112,111. The new owners have formed a presrvation society for the lighthouse. Located in the middle of the eastern entrance to South Channel about 6 miles (10 km) northeast of Cheboygan. Accessible only by boat. Visible from Cheboygan State Park and from lighthouse cruises. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Poe Reef Light Historical Preservation Society . ARLHS USA-610; USCG 7-11750.
Poe Reef Light
Poe Reef Light, Lake Huron, June 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.M. Hanchey
Spectacle Reef
1874 (O.M. Poe). Active; focal plane 86 ft (26 m); red flash every 5 s. 93 ft (28.5 m) round limestone tower with lantern and gallery, incorporating keeper's house, mounted on a square limestone crib and attached to 1-story limestone fog signal building; solar-powered lens. Tower unpainted; lantern roof painted red. The original 2nd order Fresnel lens, removed in 1982, is on display at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio. The lighthouse also has a NOAA C-Man automatic weather station. A Coast Guard aerial photo is at the top of this page, Anderson has a good page with current photos, Sch, and the Coast Guard has a historic photo. Construction of this lighthouse took 4 years and was regarded as a major engineering achievement. In May 2014 the lighthouse became available for transfer under NHLPA. There were no applicants, and in June 2015 the light station was placed on sale at auction; it sold in September for $43,575. The buyer is Nick Korstad, the former owner of the Borden Flats lighthouse in Massachusetts and current owner of the Big Bay Lighthouse in Upper Michigan. Located in the South Channel some 15 miles (25 km) east of Bois Blanc Island, northeast of Cheboygan. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-782; USCG 7-11730.

Presque Isle County (Upper Lake Huron) Lighthouses
** Forty Mile Point
1897 (Milton B. Adams). Active; focal plane 66 ft (20 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 52 ft (16 m) square cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery attached to 2-1/2 story brick duplex keeper's house. Tower painted white, lantern roof black. A 4th order Henri LePaute Fresnel lens (1872) has been in use here since 1935. Original brick fog signal building, oil house, and other light station buildings. C.M. Hanchey's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, Pepper has an excellent web page, the Coast Guard has a 1913 photo, and Google has a satellite view. Sibling of Big Bay Point Light on Lake Superior (see Western Upper Peninsula). The surrounding property was conveyed to Presque Isle County as a park in 1971, and the county assumed responsibility for maintaining the buildings. In 1998 ownership of the buildings was also transferred to the county, which then organized a preservation society to work for restoration of the lighthouse. The society has a resident caretaker who lives in an apartment in the keeper's house; the rest of the house is a museum. Volunteer keepers serve as docents during the summer and receive free camping privileges in the surrounding county park. Located in a county park off US 23 about 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Rogers City. Site open, museum open daily except Mondays from Memorial Day weekend (late May) through early October, tower closed except for occasional open houses. Owner: Presque Isle County (Lighthouse Park). Site manager: 40 Mile Point Lighthouse Society . ARLHS USA-303; USCG 7-11715.
Calcite Breakwater
1928. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 49 ft (15 m); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 45 ft (14 m) square skeletal tower rising from a square 1-story base. Fog horn (2 s blast every 20 s). GLLKA's blog has a photo (last photo on the page), and Google has a satellite view. Since 1912 the Port of Calcite has served the world's largest open-pit limestone quarry. Located at the end of the breakwater, about 1.5 mi (2.5 km) southeast of Rogers City. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company. USCG 7-11610.
Calcite Incoming Range Rear
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 110 ft (33.5 m); continuous red light. Approx. 120 ft (37 m) square brick tower, part of a large building; the light is on the side of the tower. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located in the mining complex. Site and tower closed, but there is an observation tower just outside the complex from which the tower can be viewed. Owner/site manager: Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company. USCG 7-11635.
Forty Mile Point Light
Forty Mile Point Light, Rogers City, August 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.M. Hanchey
**** Presque Isle (2 ) (New Presque Isle)
1871 (O.M. Poe). Active; focal plane 113 ft (34.5 m); white flash every 15 s. 109 ft (33 m) round brick tower with lantern and gallery attached to 1-1/2 story brick keeper's house. Tower painted white, gallery black, lantern roof red. 2-story wood assistant keeper's house (1905). The original 3rd order Fresnel lens, removed in 2003, was restored in 2012 and is on display in the principal keeper's house. Larry Myhre's photo is at the top of this page, Brandon Cirillo has a great photo, Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, Pepper also has a fine page, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, the Coast Guard has a 1913 photo, and Google has a satellite view and a closeup street view. This is the tallest Lake Huron lighthouse. The assistant keeper's house is the Keeper's House Museum. This elegant lighthouse was the first of a series of six Great Lakes lighthouses now known as the Poe Towers (the others are at Au Sable in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, Big Sable and Little Sable in the Western Lower Peninsula, Outer Island in Northern Wisconsin and Grosse Point in Illinois). The Presque Isle Township Museum Society works for maintenance and restoration of the light station. As part of a thorough restoration during the 1990s the tower was enclosed with a new course of brick; this makes the lighthouse noticeably "fatter" than it appears in older photos. Restoration of the assistant keeper's house was completed in 2002, and the house now serves as the Presque Isle Keeper's House Museum. In late 2003 a $91,500 state grant provided funds to complete restoration of the lens and lantern room. Located at the end of Grand Lake Road at the north point of the peninsula, about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) northwest of the older lighthouse. Site open; museum open Friday through Monday Memorial Day (late May) through Labor Day (early September); gift shop and tower open Friday through Monday Memorial Day weekend to mid June, daily except Thursday mid June through Labor Day (early September) and Friday through Monday for the rest of September through mid October. Owner: Presque Isle Township. Site manager: Presque Isle Township Museum Society. ARLHS USA-667; USCG 7-11550.
*** Presque Isle (1) (Old Presque Isle)
1840 (extensively rebuilt). Inactive since 1871, but charted as a landmark. 38 ft (11.5 m) round tower with lantern and gallery, lower 2/3 stone and upper portion brick. Tower painted white, lantern black. The 2-story brick keeper's house was demolished and reconstructed in 1939. The replica lantern (1957) contains a 4th order Fresnel lens relocated from the older South Fox Island Light on Lake Michigan. Bash's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page, Pepper also has a fine page, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Ed Roth's 2006 photo shows the lighthouse freshly repainted, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was sold in 1897 and came into the hands of the Stebbins family in 1912. In the 1950s Francis Stebbins decided to redevelop the property as a museum; he restored the tower and added the lantern and lens. His son James Stebbins sold the property to the state in 1995 but the buildings were donated to the township. The lighthouse was restored in 2002 through volunteer efforts and is now operated by the Presque Isle Historical Society. In October 2018 a campaign was launched to raise $250,000 for restoration and preservation of the lighthouse. Located on the southeastern point of the Presque Isle peninsula at the entrance to Presque Isle Harbor. Site open, tower open Friday through Monday Memorial Day weekend to mid June, daily except Thursday mid June through Labor Day (early September) and Friday through Monday for the rest of September through mid October. Owner: Presque Isle Township. Site manager: Presque Isle Township Museum Society. ARLHS USA-668.
* Presque Isle Range Front (1)
1871. Inactive since 1967. Approx. 17 ft (5 m) octagonal cylindrical wood tower on a square base, painted white with a red roof. Anderson has a good page for the range lights, Schultheiss also has a page, Ron Texter has a closeup photo, and the little tower is centered in Google's satellite view. Sibling of the Copper Harbor Range Front Light (see Western Upper Peninsula). After deactivation this little lighthouse was relocated to the Old Presque Isle Light (previous entry). Bash has a photo of the light at that location. In 2004 the light was relocated a second time to the new Range Light Park, near its original location in Presque Isle, where it was restored by the Robert Burseky family for the township. Site open, tower closed. Owner: Presque Isle Township. Site manager: Presque Isle Township Museum Society. ARLHS USA-669.

1840 Presque Isle Light, Presque Isle, October 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo copyright C.W. Bash
Presque Isle Range Rear (1)
1871. Inactive since 1967. Approx. 33 ft (10 m) square cupola-style lantern mounted on the roof of 1-1/2 story wood keepers quarters. Building painted white with red roofs. Anderson has a good page for the range lights, Schultheiss also has a page, a closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Sibling of Copper Harbor Range Rear Light. The lighthouse is a private residence. The range lights have been replaced by square cylindrical skeletal towers with large red and white daymarks (focal plane 36 ft (11 m) for the rear range and and 23 ft (7 m) for the front range; continuous green lights). Located on Grand Lake Road in Presque Isle. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-670.
Presque Isle Range Rear (2)
1967 (station established 1870). Active; focal plane 50 ft (15 m); continuous green light. Approx. 43 ft (13 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Karl Agre has a closeup photo and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located in front of the historic rear range lighthouse. Site status unknown. USCG 7-11570.
Stoneport
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 55 ft (17 m); flash every 10 s, alternately red and white. 50 ft (15 m) steel post with lantern and gallery rising from a 1-story equipment building. Upper part of the tower painted red, the rest white. The light appears behind the ship in a photo, Google has a satellite view. Stoneport is the harbor for a large limestone quarry. Located at the end of pier at Stoneport. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Lafarge Corporation. USCG 7-11530.

Alpena County (Thunder Bay Area) Lighthouses
Middle Island
1905. Active; focal plane 78 ft (24 m); white flash every 10 s. 71 ft (21.5 m) round brick tower attached to a service room. The original 4th order Fresnel lens was dismantled and stolen in the 1970s; one large panel has been recovered. Tower painted white with a single broad orange-red horizontal band. The 2-1/2 story duplex brick keeper's house is under restoration. Brick fog signal building, oil house, and other light station buildings. Larry Myhre's photo is at right, Anderson has a fine page, the Coast Guard has a 1931 photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Marvin Theut purchased the duplex and fog signal building in 1989 and in 1992 he chartered the Middle Island Lighthouse Keepers Association to manage the property. The association leased the light tower and restored the duplex, opening it in June 2001 for overnight accommodations . The association also has a lighthouse museum and gift shop on US 23 north of Alpena (Google has a street view). The lighthouse became available for transfer under NHLPA in June 2010. In October 2011 it was announced that ownership of the lighthouse would be transferred to the Middle Island Lighthouse Preservation Society (a creation of the Lighthouse Keepers Association), and the transfer took place on 28 May 2012. In the summer of 2014 the tower was repainted single-handed by a volunteer, Carl Behrend. Located on an island about 1 mile (1.6 km) offshore and 9 miles (15 km) north of Thunder Bay Island. Accessible only by boat; tours available on weekends June through mid-October. Site open to guided tours, tower closed. Tower owner/site manager: Middle Island Lighthouse Preservation Society. Remainder of station owner/site manager: Middle Island Lightkeepers Association. ARLHS USA-495; USCG 7-11515.
Stonycroft Point
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 30 ft (9 m); quick-flashing white light. Approx. 26 ft (8 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower painted red. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of a natural spit off El Cajan Road about 10 mi (16 km) northeast of Alpena. Site status unknown. USCG 7-11500.
Middle Island Light
Middle Island Light, Alpena, October 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo copyright Larry Myhre
Thunder Bay Island
1832 (rebuilt and heightened in 1857). Active; focal plane 63 ft (21 m); green flash every 10 s. 50 ft (15 m) round brick tower attached to a 2-story brick keeper's house; solar-powered 190 mm lens. Tower painted white, lantern and gallery red. Brick fog signal building (1892), oil house, and other light station buildings. Brian Hoffman's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page for the station, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was rebuilt after collapsing within within weeks of its construction in 1831. In 1857 the original rubblestone tower was encased in brick and heightened by 10 ft (3 m) to support a new and larger lantern room. The lighthouse deteriorated rapidly after it was destaffed in 1983. In 1996 a preservation society was formed to lease the light station from the Coast Guard, and restoration efforts began. In 2003 preservationists scrambled to raise matching funds needed to secure a grant for critically needed exterior repairs. Lighthouse Digest has a July 2004 feature article on these restoration efforts. The repairs were completed by Cusack Masonry Restoration in August 2004. A state grant provided funds for a new roof on the keeper's house, completed in 2006. Work to renovate the interior of the keeper's house as a museum is continuing. The preservation society and Alpena Township worked to secure ownership of the light station, and in October 2014 the Bureau of Land Management formally transferred ownership to the township. In 2018 the Lighthouse Assistance Program granted $60,000 to replace the roof of the fog signal building with a historically accurate roof. Located at the southeast end of the island, off the entrance to Thunder Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner: Alpena Township. Site manager: Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse Preservation Society. ARLHS USA-847; USCG 7-11495.

Thunder Bay Island Light, Alpena, July 2016
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Brian Hoffman
Lafarge Corporation Channel Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 76 ft (23 m); continuous red light. 72 ft (22 m) round industrial building carrying an orange and white striped daymark. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on the edge of the harbor of the Laforge Alpena cement plant on the north side of Alpena. Site and tower closed. USCG 7-11386.
Lafarge Corporation Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 109 ft (33 m); continuous red light. 102 ft (31 m) triangular skeletal tower carrying an orange and white striped daymark. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located 233 yd (213 m) north of the front light in the Laforge Alpena cement plant. Site and tower closed. USCG 7-11387.
Alpena (Alpena Harbor) (3)
1914 (station established 1875). Active; focal plane 44 ft; red flash every 5 s. 40 ft (?) square pyramidal skeletal tower, partially enclosed below the lantern; 250 mm lens. Entire lighthouse painted red. Fog horn (blast every 15 s) when needed. The original 4th order Fresnel lens is on display at Grand Traverse Light (see Western Lower Peninsula). C.M. Hanchey's photo is at right, Bash has a good photo, Anderson's page has several fine photos, Pepper also has a page for the light, Andrew Beem has a street view across the harbor entrance, and Google has a satellite view. Known locally as "Sputnik" and as "L'il Red," this tower is the only surviving example of its design. It replaced a wooden lighthouse built in 1888 after an earlier lighthouse was destroyed by fire. In 2011 the lighthouse became available for transfer under NHLPA and in July 2013 ownership was awarded to the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy. Mounted at the end of the north breakwater at the mouth of the Thunder Bay River in Alpena. Accessible only by boat. There's a good view from the end of First Avenue, two blocks east of US 23. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy (Alpena Lighthouse). ARLHS USA-007; USCG 7-11370.

Alpena Harbor Light, Alpena, August 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.M. Hanchey

Alcona County Lighthouse
**** Sturgeon Point
1869. Active; focal plane 69 ft (21 m); white flash every 6 s. 71 ft (21.5 m) round brick tower attached to a 1-1/2 story limestone and brick keeper's house. A rare 3-1/2 order Fresnel lens (1887) is still in use. Lighthouse and lantern painted white, gallery and lantern roof red; keeper's house also painted white with red trim. Jimmy Emerson's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page for the station, Marinas.com has aerial photos, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Dan Moellering has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. The light station was leased to Alcona County in 1982; volunteers of the Alcona Historical Society spent three years restoring the keeper's house as a maritime museum. In 2001 the lighthouse was one of the first offered for transfer under NHLPA, and in 2005 the station was transferred to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as an addition to Sturgeon Point State Park. In 2006 the Coast Guard proposed to deactivate the lighthouse and apparently did so for a short time, but after some negotiation it agreed to maintain the light. Located at the end of Point Road about 4 miles (6.5 km) north of Harrisville. Site open, museum and tower open daily mid June through Labor Day (early September) and on weekends from Memorial Day (late May) through mid June and in September. Owner: Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Site manager: Alcona Historical Society. ARLHS USA-823; USCG 7-11345.

Iosco County Lighthouse
Au Sable River (Oscoda) (2) (relocated)
1912 (station established 1873). Inactive since 1957 (a decorative red light is displayed). Approx. 33 ft (10 m) square skeletal tower rising from a 1-story equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted red. A historic photo shows the lighthouse in its original location at the mouth of the Au Sable River. The original lighthouse was a square wood tower with lantern and gallery; Anderson has a historic photo taken in 1904. When it was deactivated in 1957 the 1912 beacon was moved to the Oscoda Yacht Club nearby (the yacht club was demolished in 2016 after going bankrupt). In 2013 the light was purchased by David Allen and moved to his business, the Great Lakes North Gallery. In October 2016 the Oscoda Downtown Development Authority voted to purchase the lighthouse for $3500. During 2017 the tower was restored and painted in township's maintenance yard. In October 2018 the lighthouse was installed just off Highway 23 in front of the newly-restored Huron Shores Artisan Hall in downtown Oscoda. Google has a street view and a satellite view of this location. Owner/site manager: Oscoda Township. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-929.

Sturgeon Point Light, Harrisville, August 2014
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jimmy Emerson
**** Tawas (Tawas Point, Ottawa Point) (2)
1876 (station established 1853). Inactive since 2016. 67 ft (20 m) round brick tower attached to 1-1/2 story brick keeper's house; original 4th order Fresnel lens. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery gray, lantern roof red. The lighthouse is floodlit at night. Steve VunCannon's photo is at right, Anderson's page has good photos, the state has a web site for the lighthouse, Marinas.com has aerial photos, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The first lighthouse here was a 45 ft (14 m) rubblestone tower. Formerly used as Coast Guard housing, the light station was transferred to the state in 1999. In 2000 the state renovated the grounds, clearing trees and providing handicap access to the area. A $20,000 state grant in 2001 supported a study of restoration needed to return the station to its appearance between 1890 and 1920. Restoration work began in 2002 with replacement of the principal keeper's house roof and various site improvements. A garage was renovated to serve as a temporary visitor center. The assistant keeper's house (formerly the keeper's house of the Ecorse Lighthouse near Detroit) was demolished -- an unfortunate and inexplicable loss. The tower was repainted and repaired in 2003. Restoration of the principal keeper's house began in 2006. Since 2008 volunteer keepers pay to stay up to two weeks in the house. In October 2015 the Coast Guard announced a plan to deactivate the lighthouse, remove the lens, and place a modern light on the fog signal structure (next entry). This change occurred in September 2016. However, the state park will apply to retain the lens for display on site. In June 2018 ceremonies were held designating the light station officially as a Michigan State Historic Site. Located on a sandy spit enclosing Tawas Bay, off US 23 at the end of Tawas Beach Road, in East Tawas. Site open, museum open daily Memorial Day (late May) through Labor Day (early September) and Friday through Monday the rest of September and early October; tower open daily except Wednesdays Memorial Day through Labor Day and Friday through Monday the rest of September and early October Owner: Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Site manager: Tawas Point State Park (Tawas Point Lighthouse). ARLHS USA-837.
Tawas Point Light
Tawas Point Light, East Tawas, September 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Steve VunCannon
* Tawas (3) (Tawas Point Fog Horn)
Date unknown (light added in 2016; station established 1899). Active; focal plane 46 ft (14 m); white flash every 4 s. 46 ft (14 m) square skeletal tower. Fog horn: 2 blasts every 60 s when needed. Andrew Beem has a distant lake view and Google has a satellite view. Anderson has a historic photo of the original brick fog signal building. The Coast Guard moved the active light to this location in September 2016. Located at the tip of Tawas Point, 1/2 mi (800 m) southwest of the lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. USCG 7-11240.
National Gypsum Range Front
Date unknown. Active only when a ship is expected; focal plane 46 ft (14 m); continuous red light. Approx. 43 ft (13 m) square skeletal tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the company's pier about 2 mi (3.2 km) south of downtown Tawas. Owner/site manager: National Gypsum Company. Site and tower closed. USCG 7-11195.
National Gypsum Range Rear
Date unknown. Active only when a ship is expected; focal plane 78 ft (24 m); continuous red light. Approx. 69 ft (21 m) square skeletal tower. atop an industrial building. Google has a satellite view and a street view from US 23. Located at the end of the company's pier about 2 mi (3.2 km) south of downtown Tawas. Owner/site manager: National Gypsum Company. Site and tower closed. USCG 7-11195.

Arenac County (Saginaw Bay) Lighthouses
* Charity Island
1858. Inactive since 1939; charted as a landmark. 39 ft (12 m) round brick tower with lantern and gallery, originally painted white, lantern black. Lauda Sisung's photo is at right, Anderson's page has good photos, a 2015 closeup is available, Jason Koepke has a 2008 view from the lake, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Gravely endangered by decay and neglect, this lighthouse is a long term resident on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. Charity Island is the largest island in Saginaw Bay. Sold into private hands in 1963, the island has been owned by a series of developers but all development plans fizzled. In 1997 developer Robert Wiltse sold most of the island to the Fish and Wildlife Service for inclusion in the Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge. He sold additional land to the Michigan Nature Conservancy but retained 5.5 acres (2.4 ha) including the site of the former keeper's house. The ruined keeper's house (seen in a photo by Charles Bash) was demolished in the spring of 2003. Wiltse then built a modern house on the foundations on the site of the keeper's house. Meanwhile, in September 2002, the Arenac County Historical Society formed the Charity Island Preservation Committee to work for restoration of the light tower, and in July 2003 the Society announced an agreement with the Nature Conservancy and the Fish and Wildlife Service on carrying out the restoration. In January 2005 the Committee announced funds were in hand to proceed with the historical study needed before actual restoration can begin. Sadly, as of 2015 nothing had been done, and Wiltse intervened to rig emergency stabilization for the lantern. In September 2016 the Wiltse family announced they had gotten effective possession of the lighthouse (it's not clear how) and that they were hoping to begin restoration work in 2017. The Wiltses have a Facebook page and a GoFundMe page for the restoration, although the latter has attracted only a few small donations. Located at the northwest point of the island, in the middle of the entrance to Saginaw Bay. Accessible only by boat; in addition Wiltse offers dinner cruises to the light station from Au Gres. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-943.

Charity Island Light, Saginaw Bay, September 2017
Google Plus photo by Lauda Sisung
Gravelly Shoal
1939 (F.P. Dillon and W. G. Will). Active; focal plane 75 ft (23 m); red flash every 6 s. 65 ft (20 m) square cylindrical white concrete Art Deco tower surmounted by a black steel skeletal radiobeacon tower, mounted on a circular concrete crib; 375 mm lens. Fog horn (blast every 30 s) operates continuously. Automatic weather station. Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse and the Coast Guard has a 1949 photo. Sibling of the Conneault Harbor and Huron Harbor Lights in Ohio. Designed to be controlled remotely from Tawas Point, this lighthouse replaced the Charity Island Light. To resist ice pressure, the crib was strengthened with additional concrete in 1954. In May 2014 the lighthouse became available for transfer under NHLPA. No applications were received, and the lighthouse was sold at auction in August 2015 for a bargain $16,000. The new owner is Bill Collins, who also owns the Manistique Lighthouse and Ile Aux Galets Lighthouse in Michigan and Liston Rear Range Lighthouse in Delaware. Located west of Charity Island, roughly halfway between the island and Point Lookout on the mainland. Accessible only by boat; there should be good views from the passenger ferry from Au Gres to Charity Island. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-340; USCG 7-10540.

Bay County (Bay City Area) Lighthouses
Saginaw Bay (Light 1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 50 ft (15 m); green flash every 6 s. 50 ft (15 m) round cylindrical tower, painted white with a green horizontal band, presumably mounted on concrete crib. No photo available. Located in the center of Saginaw Bay about 7.5 mi (12 km) northeast of the Saginaw River entrance and 1 km (0.6 mi) northwest of Channel Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1415; USCG 7-10570.
Saginaw Approach Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 66 ft (20 m); continuous red light, day and night. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a round pier. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels on their final approach to the Saginaw River. Located just off the mouth of the river, on the west side of the channel. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. USCG 7-10550.
Saginaw Approach Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 155 ft (47 m); continuous red light, day and night. Approx. 135 ft (41 m) triangular skeletal tower mounted on a round pier. No ground-level photo available, but Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located between a railroad and a sewage treatment plant near Patterson Road and Wilder Road, 1.65 mi (2.65 km) west southwest of the front light. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. USCG 7-10560.
[Saginaw River Range Front (1)]
1876 (station established 1841). Inactive since ca. 1960. The original lighthouse on this station (1841) was the Saginaw Bay Light, a 65 ft (20 m) oldstyle rubblestone tower. The first range light (1876), a 37 ft (11 m) square pyramidal wood tower with enclosed upper portion, was replaced in 1915 by a steel skeletal tower, now also demolished. The concrete crib on which these range towers were built survives at the Bay City Yacht Club, just inside the mouth of the river (Google has a satellite view), and a 1-1/2 story wood assistant keeper's house (1905) survives as a private residence. Site closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-940.
Saginaw River Range Rear
1876 (Godfrey Weitzel). Inactive since 1960 (continued to serve as a Coast Guard station until 1980). 55 ft (17 m) square brick tower attached to 2-story brick keeper's house. Buildings painted white; roofs are red. Bash's photo is at right, Anderson has a fine page for the lighthouse, Schultheiss has a page with additional photos, the Coast Guard has a 1974 photo of the station, and Google has a fine satellite view. Located on property owned by Dow Chemical Company, the light station was in poor condition by the 1990s. In 2000 the company and the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society announced plans to restore the lighthouse, with Dow Chemical providing most of the funds. In 2000 the roof and windows were replaced. In 2002 the society acquired a historic locomotive-style range lens of the type used in the lighthouse between 1930 and 1960. Located on the west side of the Saginaw River about 2/3 mile (1.1 km) south of Saginaw Bay, north of Bay City. Site and tower closed. Owner: Dow Chemical. Site manager: Saginaw River Marine Historical Society . ARLHS USA-717.
Saginaw Bay Range Rear Light
Saginaw River Range Rear Light, Bay City, July 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.W. Bash
Essexville Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 53 ft (16 m); continuous green light. Approx. 45 ft (14 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark painted red with w hite vertical stripe. Google has a street view, but the tower does not show up among trees in Google's satellite view. Located on the west side of Pine Street at Jarman Street in Essexville, on the east side of Saginaw River. Site and tower closed but the tower is easily seen from the street. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. USCG 7-10765.

Inland Lighthouse: Roscommon County
* Houghton Lake (2)
2003 (station established 1962). Active (privately maintained); light characteristic unknown. 35 ft (11 m) hexagonal wood tower with lantern, topped by a weathervane. Lighthouse formerly painted white with narrow red horizontal bands, but recently it was repainted all red. A view and a second view from the lake are available, and Google has a street view and an indistinct satellite view. A postcard view is available of the original 87 ft (26.5 m) lighthouse built in 1962. Located on Shoreline Drive in Houghton Lake Heights, off MI 55. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Heights Marina.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Eastern Upper Michigan | South: Southeastern Lower Michigan | West: Western Lower Michigan

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Checked and revised November 11, 2018. Lighthouses: 35. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.