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
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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.