This painting was done on a golden October afternoon about 4:00pm. We managed to get to it before it closed. They did not have a guest keeper that week so we didn't get inside. It is just north of Traverse City, MI.
The Grand Traverse Lighthouse stands on the northern tip of the Leelanau Peninsula as a guide into the entrance of the Grand Traverse Bay from Lake Michigan. This painting depicts the second light on this site when finished in 1885. It was a single family two story white brick dwelling with a short square wooden tower sitting squarely on the top of the west end of the house. The light boosted a 4th order Fresnel lens.
In 1899, the fog signal building was added housing a steam powered fog whistle. The whistle required an assistant with family. 1901 saw the house divided long-ways with porches and kitchens added over the years. One of the keeper’s enhanced the grounds by crafting a stone bird house and a stone crown planter.
An automated light tower replaced the station in 1972, so the station was closed. The Grand Traverse Lighthouse Foundations restored the building and added a museum in the fog signal building, opening it to the public in 1982. The light is accessible by car and is part of the Leelanau State Park. For more information go to www.grandtraveselighthouse.com For prints and cards available.
With increased shipping of lumber from the Black River in 1872, a 30’ open based wooden south pier light and a 75’ catwalk was constructed and a 2 1/2 story keepers quarters on shore. In 1902, the pier was extended to 249’ and the light moved to the end of the pier and a year later a cast iron lantern room was installed with a 5th order Fresnel lens. 1903 saw a gleaming white cast iron 30’ tower replace the wood one and 1913 the pier was extended again and the light moved 425’ to the end of the pier.
A 52’ skeletal steel rear range light appeared in 1915 as incoming shipping increased. The 5th order lens was replaced with a 6th order and the wood catwalk was replaced with the current cast iron one (which is only one of four that still exist.) The 1950’s when the USCG took over, the rear range light was torn down and the south pier tower was painted red and became one of Lake Michigan’s “all red” lighthouses.
The light is an active aid to navigation. It is accessible by car and you may walk out on the south pier weather permitting.
Available in 3 sizes and large card.
For more historical information go to: www.lighthousefriends.org/southaven
From 1875 - 1885, a Canadian Light ship warned vessels of Bar Shoal jutting out into Lake Erie. This is the point up-bound ships make a turn into Detroit River. In August, 1885, the light ship was replaced with the U.S. Detroit River Light. The 49’ tall black topped white tower is brick covered in cast iron plates and sits on a 45’ x 18’ wood/cement crib surrounded by a granite blocks. The fog signal and radio signal building is an integral part of the “fire plug” style tower.
The light was fitted with a 4th order Fresnel lens. In 1979, the light was automated and the lens went to the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven, MI.
The light is now privately owned. It may be viewed by boat.
This original pen and ink available also colored print available in 3 sizes and large card.
For historical information go to: www.lighthousefriends.org/detroitriverlight
This weeks featured light is the Holland, MI south pier head light “Big Red”. The site has been marked with a light since 1872. A small tower sat atop a low skeletal base with a raised catwalk in 1906 with a 6th order lens. . In 1907, a very large iron clad fog signal building with twin gables and second floor living quarters right behind the tower , all a pale yellow with a deep maroon base, later painted white. In 1932, the light was automated. The light tower was lifted atop the west end of the fog building and the catwalk removed. “BIG RED” was created by a red paint job in 1956 as you see it today.
Available in 3 sizes of prints and large card
For more information visit: www.holland.org also, www.lighthousefriends.org/hollandlighthouse
I have visited this lighthouse several times. I first painted it in 1979. It had been automated in 1968 an the keeper’s quarters were boarded up and stood in tall unkept grass. I wanted to paint the 1862 white cast iron skeletal tower in a more dramatic modern way. It took me two years of looking at references, doing sketches and working out lighting and how to achieve it in watercolors. The finished painting is on 140 lb cold press watercolor paper 14” x 18” unmatted. The original is for sale, also available as a smaller archival print and as a large card. See website for.information.
For complete history go to www.lighthousefriends.com Whitefish Point Lighthouse Michigan
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.