Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington State Park
September 10, 2008
Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light is down (I fervently hope temporarily) so I can’t get the crunchy details on from his Big Sable Lighthouse page. Wikipedia’s Big Sable Point Lighthouse entry says that the historical marker reads:
Called Grande Pointe au Sable by French explorers and traders, Big Sable Point was an important landmark for mariners traveling a treacherous stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline between Big Sable Point and present-day Ludington. In 1855, twelve ships wrecked in that area. Commerce linked to the burgeoning lumber industry required that Big Sable Point be suitably lighted. State senator Charles Mears pressed the legislature to ask the federal government for a light station at Big Sable. In 1866 the U.S. Congress appropriated $35,000 for a lighthouse, which was built the following year. As the lumbering era waned, steamers carrying coal, foodstuffs, and tourists continued to rely on the lighthouse for navigation.
The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is one of the few Michigan lights with a tower reaching 100 feet. Completed in 1867, Big Sable’s tower measures 112 feet high. In 1902 the deteriorating brick tower was encased in steel. The keeper’s dwelling, which once housed a single family, has been enlarged over the years, resulting in the present three-family residence. Indoor plumbing and heating and a diesel electric generator were added in 1949. In 1953, power lines were extended to the Point. In 1968 the tradition of light-keeping begun in 1867 by Alonzo A. Hyde and his wife, Laura, ended when the station was fully automated. Big Sable Point Light Station is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The light is located in Ludington State Park (Wikipedia) and is open for tours May – October (see bigsablelighthouse.org for details). The Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association maintains several lighthouses on the east coast of Lake Michigan: Big Sable, Ludington North Breakwater, and Little Sable.
For more views of the lighthouse and the area, check out Big Sable Point on Flickr, some Big Sable Point Lighthouse panoramas (go to full screen!) and these rocking aerial photos of Big Sable Lighthouse at marinas.com – be sure to use the zoom!
You can check out Big Sable Point Lighthouse on the Absolute Michigan map (satellite view).