An all time favorite, Big Sable Lighthouse on Lake Michigan is nestled in the dunes and jack pines. It is a quick 2 mile walk on a beautiful trail. We enjoyed this walk on a Friday afternoon in October. The late autumn sun, breeze off the water and the smell of a campfire in the distance added to the scene and we turned the bend and there was this magnificent tall black and white lighthouse. We arrived after a 5 pm and could not go up in the tower, but after the walk, I was happy to sit on a bench by the base of the light and soak up the sunshine and listen to the waves.
The light was built in 1867 and is an active light. Standing 112 feet tall, this stunning iron-clad black and white lighthouse and adjacent keeper’s quarters dominate the shoreline. The light was automated in 1968. The Third Order Fresnel lens is on display in Ludington.
The list is located in Ludington State Park, 8 1/2 miles north of the City of Ludington, MI. On Lake Michigan. The state part does require a fee or pass to enter. The grounds and tower are open May-October and cared for by the SPIKA which is a group of citizens that have taken on the care of the Big Sable Light, the Ludington Breakwater light, Little Sable light and White River Light. To read about these lights go to www.spika.org find out the hours and how you can be a volunteer keeper and live on the 2nd floor of the keeper’s quarters. For more history go to www.lighthousefriends.com. For prints and cards go to my website: www.michiganlighthouseart.com
White River Channel Light is west of White Hall, MI. on a narrow neck of land that overlooks the river entrance into White Lake from Lake Michigan.
It was established in 1875 to replace a pier light that had been built earlier. It is a cream tan brick octagon tower integrated into the keeper’s quarters built in the Norman Gothic Style with a fourth order Fresnel lens. It’s the first keeper, Captain William Robinson helped construct the light.
For a short time it had a female keeper, Francis Johnson, from 1948-1954. The light was deactivated in 1960. It became a fine museum in 1966 and easily accessed by car. There is a path to the beach via a short walk through the dunes. For more details go to: www.lighthousefriends.com. and for a print or cards go to my website www.michiganlighthouseart.com
Thanks to a gentleman that took the time to take short videos of this light with his cell phone while circling it in a zodiac and then presenting me with a flash drive to down-load the images to my computer, so I could accurately paint the lighthouse. I have become very attached to Waugoshance with it’s unusual history, appearance and ghost (presumably now huddled in the tower staircase).
The lighthouse is doomed unless something extraordinary is done to save it. It was deactivated in 1912 , when Grey’s Reef lighthouse built in a deeper part of the passage replaced it. The light has suffered unusual damage. In 1942, the U.S. Navy used the light for bombing and target practice for its fighter pilots. The keeper’s house and all wood framing was burnt and protective steel plates fell away leaving it unprotected to the Lake Michigan storms and recent high water.
It was built in 1851 in 12’ of water on a large shallow shoal the juts out about a mile in the most dangerous part of the Straits of Mackinac. It stands 63’ tall and has the remnants of a “bird cage” lantern room, only 1 of 3 on the Great Lakes that is still there, it now acts as a bird cage for a flock of cormorants.
A non-profit organization tried to raise funds to stabilize a large hole in the foundation to keep it from toppling over, but they have had to abandon the project. It would be a shame to see it destroyed into a pile of rubble constantly reminding us of our inability to innovate and save it.
While it still stands off shore in shallow water near Wilderness State Park, it can not be easily or safely approached. It can be viewed from a distance. For more history go to www.lighthousefriends.com for prints and cards of this painting go to www.michiganlighthouseart.com
Skillagalee or “Island of Pebbles “ is the exposed part of a gravel shoal 1/2 mile by 2 miles wide. The exposed part sits just 20 feet above the the breaking waves of upper Lake Michigan, invisible to ships. The island is getting smaller with this year’s high waters. It is seven miles out west of Cross Village on the way to Beaver Island.
This painting depicts a sunset reflecting on the third lighthouse built on the island in 1888 with an attached keeper’s quarters and out buildings. The 58’ tower is a painted white brick octagon hourglass shape with a 4th order Fresnel lens. The Port Sanilac light on Lake Huron is a twin design.
The light was automated in 1969 and the tower remains the only standing structure. The island was auctioned off in 2015 to private owners. The true owners are the sea gulls who have raised their young among the pebbles for centuries. They say you can smell the island before you see it downwind on a warm day.
It is difficult to get to, but maybe seen from the Beaver Island Ferry. For more details go to www.lighthousefriends.com For a print and cards go to my website www.michiganlighthouseart.com
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.