Grand Island North Lighthouse

Grand Island North Light 2

Grand Island North Light 2, photo by Shawn & Brian Malone

The page on Grand Island North Lighthouse from Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light begins:

Eight miles in length, and three miles in width, Grand Island is the largest island on Superior’s south shore. Long known by fur traders for the natural harbor of refuge on the island’s southern lee, the North West Company established a post on the site of present day Munising in the late 1700’s, and subsequently the American Fur Company operated a post on the Island itself during the early decades of the nineteenth century. The hay days of “King Fur” were fading into memory when Abraham Williams, the island’s first permanent white settler arrived from Vermont in 1837 and set up homesteading in a couple of the old abandoned trading post buildings on the island’s south shore. As other settlers began arriving to eke an existence from the island’s shores, Williams established a trading post, blacksmith’s shop and sawmill on the island.

In 1853 Congress appropriated $5,000 for a new lighthouse at the top of a 175-foot cliff on the northern end of the island, but materials used were so inferior that the light had to be completely demolished and rebuilt in 1867. It served for almost 100 years before being decommissioned and sold to Dr. Loren Graham, author of “A Face in the Rock,” a chronicle of the rich native heritage of the island. There’s more great photos of the lighthouse including this one by Jeff Shook and a shot from 1905.

You can buy a copy of this photo right here and check out more of their Lake Superior lighthouses.

If you’re looking for some chilly reading on a warm fall day, The Surfer’s Journal is running a ten page story in their summer issue featuring photos that the Malones took at a Grand Sable Dunes surfing session in January of 2009.

4 thoughts on “Grand Island North Lighthouse

  1. We just paddled past this lighthouse a few weeks ago but didn’t have the luxury of looking up. It’s tough to spot from the water, but one can see it from the lookout on the Northeast point.

    Thanks for the link to Terry Pepper’s page. It’s a fascinating place.


  2. My Great Great Grandfather was one of the North Light keepers who came up missing in 1908. I wondered if you have any information re this. There has been a lot of speculation over the years and I am now trying to put some research together. Also who owns this lighthouse now? Thank you for any information that you can share with me.


    George Genry’s Great Great Granddaughter

    Jill M Young


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