Fort Gratiot was the first lighthouse on Michigan shores. It was built near Fort Gratiot in the Michigan territories. The first light and keeper’s log cabin opened in 1825 and collapsed after a 3 day storm in November 1828. A new painted white brick lighthouse was 74’ tall and 25’ at the base with a work room attached was built at the mouth of the St.Clair River. It was fitted with a fifth order Fresnel lens. In 1861, the tower was raised 12’ to 86’ and brick duplex was added in 1874 for the keeper’s and assistants. These are the structures you see today.
In 1931 , the Coast Guard purchased adjoining land and opened the Port Huron Station consisting of a main building, boat house, lookout tower with crews quarters, a breakwater and fog signal. The light was automated in 1933. The lightship Huron and the light station are within walking distance of each other and with ample parking. The light is open from late May to late September.
Go to the website: www.phmuseum.org for more information.
For a print and cards go to my website:www.michiganlighthouseart.com
Petite Pointe AuSable was the light’s name when it was built on a sandy point jutting into Lake Michigan in 1874. The red brick tower and adjacent 12 room, 2 1/2 story keepers quarters rose out of the sand. All supplies were brought in by barge as there was no road at the time. It is one of the five tall towers in Michigan waters, 107’ tall with 130 steps to the top. The 10-sided lantern room still houses a unique split 3rd Order Fresnel lens. The bottom and center are fixed and the top third has 10 bullseye panels that rotate and flash. The first keepers were very happy with the tower being left its natural brick color as they didn’t have to paint it. But in 1900, it had to be painted white so it stood out against the background. Its name changed to Little Sable light, still meaning “little point of sand” and out buildings and dormers were added as needed. It was the last light to be electrified in Michigan and it was soon unmanned and later decommissioned. These out buildings and the keeper’s quarters were removed in 1958 when the Coast Guard took charge. The light was sandblasted in 1974 back to the red brick to save on the cost of maintenance.
The light was leased to the care of the Sable Points Lighthouse Keeper’s Association in 2005 based in Ludington, Mi. The tower is part of the Silver Lake State Park. There are paths and a large parking lot. It is open from late May through late September for tours. It is one of the most loved and visited lights in Michigan. Many an engagement has been made by this light. For more information go to www.splka.org. For a print and cards go to my website www.michiganlighthouseart.com
Built in 1853, the Marquette Harbor Light was one of the earliest lights built on Lake Superior prior to the Soo Locks which opened in 1855. It was equipped with a 6th Order Fresnel Lens. The first light was replaced in 1870 by a yellow brick building with a square tower centered in the lake-facing gable end. In 1910, the light was converted to a duplex by increasing the height to a full second store. it was painted red in 1911. The light received its last coat of paint after a 2013 fund-raiser “Paint the Lighthouse Red” by the Marquette Maritime Museum which lovingly cares for the light and gives tours. For more current information go to: www.Marquettemaritimemuseum.com For my prints and cards go to www.michiganlighthouseart.com
I sat on the beach by myself one sunny July afternoon and did this watercolor sketch after a wonderful lunch in the lighthouse while everyone else took a snooze or walk. A special treat was two of the Tall Ships sailing through the Straits to Chicago while I sat there painting. It was a step back in time, a great memory.
Look west from the Mackinaw Bridge and about 7 miles away, you will see St. Helena Island right in the Straits. A light was built in 1873 with a 3 1/2 Fresnel Lens to warn ships coming from the west of the dangerous unseen shoals and island. The red brick two-story keeper’s quarters is attached by a covered walkway to the light which is 71’ tall. The light was automated in 1922 and the Coast Guard maintained the tower. The house was vandalized and almost destroyed by fire. The Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association bought the light and has beautifully rebuilt it with a great deal of volunteer help and money. The island is accessible only by boat and the westward lighthouse cruises include the light. You may visit the light for lunch or stay in the lighthouse as a volunteer. Go to www.gllka.com for more information. For prints and cards visit: www.michiganlighthouseart.com
In 1887 the plans for Seul Choix and Squaw Island Lighthouses were approved at the same time due to increased steam powered barge traffic from Chicago and Milwaukee. Squaw Island Is located last in the Beaver Island Archipelago in northern Lake Michigan.
October 1892, saw the completion of the red brick tower which is 11’ square base with three projecting buttresses. The tower is set in the northeast corner of the keeper’s quarters dwelling. The red pressed brick two story house is covered by a continuous red painted shingle roof. The sparkling white trim is limestone used for the base and window sills.Other buildings in the group was a fog signal building, out house, a barn, a boathouse, landing, tramway and a well.
The black cast iron lantern room housed a Forth Order Fresnel Lens. The lens rotated and the weight that made it revolve was 28’ long and had to be hand-wound every 3 hours and 40 minutes exactly.
The opening of the Lansing Shoal Lighthouse in 1928 just 5 miles away caused the light station to be discontinued. In 1936, the island and light title passed to private ownership. The light was upgraded and secured in 2016 and sold to new owners.
For more information go to www.lighthousefriends.com and for cards and prints go to: michiganlighthouseart.com/gallery
Michigan Artist, Anita Saviko, Her goal is to research the histories and paint all Michigan lighthouses/range lights past and present, a total of spprox. 150 lights.