The Grand Traverse Lighthouse
December 5, 2011
The Grand Traverse Lighthouse is located at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula in Leelanau State Park. If you have a lighthouse buff on your holiday list, you might consider a volunteer lightkeeper position in winter or summer at the light.
Construction of the Lighthouse was approved in 1849 at the northern tip of the Leelanau Peninsula at Cathead Point, the northern point of the important Manitou Passage and Grand Traverse Bay.
The Grand Traverse Lighthouse page from Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light notes that – as was often the case with lighthouses constructed under the “fiscally tight-fisted Pleasonton administration” – work was shoddy and:
The old tower and dwelling were demolished in 1858, and a work on a new structure began on higher ground on the point. Over that summer a dirt-floored cellar with rubble stone walls was excavated and a two-story Cream City Brick keepers dwelling took shape. A short square wooden tower with white painted clapboard siding was integrally mounted at the center of the roof ridge, and both floors contained four rooms, with a centrally located entryway with stairs connecting the two floors. A narrower second set of stairs on the second floor led through the attic into the tower. The building featured first-class construction, with hardwood floors throughout and varnished wooden trim and wainscoting.
Atop the tower, a cast iron lantern with copper sheathed roof contained a new fixed white Fifth Order Fresnel lens illuminated with a sperm oil fueled lamp. With its ventilator ball standing 48 feet above the structure’s foundation, the building’s location on high ground provided a focal plane of 103 feet, and a range of visibility of 12 miles in clear weather.
There’s a whole bunch more Michigan lighthouses at Michigan in Pictures!