This painting was great fun splashing watercolor onto the paper, After the paint dried, I selected a lighthouse that fit the space and painted it in. Pen & Ink supplied the smaller details. This is one of my favorites.
Spectacle Reef lighthouse is at the east end of the Mackinac Straits in Lake Huron. It was named because of two very dangerous limestone shoals which resemble a pair of spectacles. The reef is exposed to the whole sweep of Lake Huron especially the ice flows in winter which made it difficult to construct a lighthouse that could withstand the current and ice pressures.
Blocks of Marblehead limestone form the solid bottom thirty-four feet of the tower and extend twenty three feet above the lake. The upper portion of the tower was hollow and formed five 14’ diameter rooms one above the other. The 2nd order Fresnel lens first shone June 1, 1874 at the large sum of $406,000. The structure is recognized as a monolith like the Washington Monument. The top two windows were left open at the end of each season so they could climb into the light at the beginning of the next season because the lower part of the light would be covered in ice and they would break out from the inside. in 1972 the lens was removed and is now on display at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo,MI. May 2014 the light was deemed excess and it was finally sold to a private owner in 2015.
For more interesting history go to www.lighthousefriends.com. For prints and cards of the painting above go www.michignlighthoseart.com
The Holland Pier light started out in 1870 with a white wood structure with enclosed top and open bottom. It had a 5th order Fresnel lens. In 1875 an elevated wood catwalk was installed. This was upgraded in 1901 to a white steel structure with metal walk. Then in 1907, a white very large metal fog signal building with a large loud fog steam whistle and an apartment for 2 assistants above in the gabled upper story and a connective passage connected to adjacent pier light with new 4th order Fresnel lens. In 1936, a smaller square tower was erected between the pair of gables on the fog signal and entire building was painted cream with maroon trim!
The change to “Big Red” occurred in 1956 when the entire building was painted bright red. to meet Coast Guard requirements that right side pier lights must be all red. The light was decommissioned and finally signed over to Holland Historical Preservation Society. The 4th order Fresnel lens is in Holland Museum for all to visit. The light had faded to “Big Pink” in 2012 and there was no money to paint it. Two local business stepped up and painted it for free!
Go to www.lighthousefriends.com for more detailed history.
For prints and cards of Big Red go to website www.michiganlighthouseart.com
Above 1913 sketch of white metal pier tower and new fog signal building
Current “Big Red” light
The light is endangered again due to the high water in the Great Lakes. Go to www.roundislqndlightmichigan.com to see how you can help!
Anyone that has taken the ferry to Mackinaw Island has passed by the Round Island Light and have never been aware that there are dangerous reefs on both sides of the north channel between Mackinaw and Round Islands. The red brick lighthouse, now painted red and white with black trim sat atop a pier a 12’ square tower which is part of the northeast corner of a 2 1/2 story dwelling. The 4th order Fresnel lens was first lit May 15, 1896.
Lighthouse keepers lived over a coal fired fog steam whistle in the first floor that could blast 5 seconds of every minute for hours/days. The light served for many years and was decommissioned when Round Island Passage light sat the mouth of the Mackinaw Island Harbor was built. It was signed over to the Hiawatha National Forest in 1955.
A storm in October 1972 tore away the lower portion of the southeast corner of the light exposing the interior to the weather. in 1975 various groups began to save the light. Over the years, many groups including the Boy Scouts and Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper’s Assc. have volunteered and restored the light. Thanks to all of these efforts, in 1996, the light shines again as a private navigational aid. The Round Island Preservation Society now permits the light to be open one day a year in July.
Prints and cards www.michiganlighthouseart.com/ gallery
Big Sable Light is nestled in the dunes and jack pines on Lake Michigan. It was a crisp sunny October afternoon when we took the two mile walk(each way) on a well maintained dirt road to the light. This stunning iron clad black and white light and adjacent keeper’s quarters dominate the shoreline.
The light stands 112 ft. tall and was built in 1867. We arrived just after five and the tower was closed and we couldn't climb the tower. Sitting on the bench in front of the light and catching my breath just from the walk, the beauty of day, the sturdy tower and rolling Lake Michigan filled the senses. Well worth the effort!
The light is located in a Ludington State Park, 8 1/2 miles north of Ludington,Mi. The park does require a fee or annual pass. The tower and keeper’s quarters are open May-October. You may stay at the light as a volunteer keeper, contact www.splka.com For more history go to www.lighthousefriends.com. Prints and cards available on the website www.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.