This was one of my favorite Michigan lights to paint. The light is often covered by the angry waves of Lake Superior and covered in ice as winter deepens. It is said that because of the ice layer, they left an upper window unlocked so they can get into the tower in the spring
It is isolated in Lake Superior about 45 miles from Marquette and 25 miles from shore atop a rock shoal known as the “Pinnacle of Doom” .jutting up from deep water in the midst of the shipping lanes of ore boats from the Kewenaw Peninsula. Many ships found their bottoms ripped out in bad weather without knowing where the hazard was located. Captain Charles C. Stannard of the American Trading Co. was given credit for marking the hazard in 1832, but it took until July 4, 1882 for the very large 2nd order Fresnel Lens to be lit and mark the hazard permanently.
The lighthouse was one of the most remote, difficult and expensive lights to be built. it is very similar to the Spectacle Reef light in northern Lake Huron and much of the equipment from that light was used in the construction of this one to place the pre-cut 30 ton granite stone sections quarried in Ohio.
The light is said to be haunted by one, William Maxwell, the head keeper killed in a huge propane blast on Father’s Day 1961 and whose body was not recovered. The blast was so large that is was said to register as a 4 on the Richter scale in Canada. The light’s crew lived on the deck for 3 days before a ship could get to them.
The light is now automated. The Fresnel Lens disappeared for a while, but was recovered and is now in the Marquette Museum for viewing. For more details go to www.lighthousefriends.com and for a print or cards go to 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.