Frankfort North Breakwater Light

Frankfort Lights by Jason Lome

Frankfort Lights, photo by lomeranger.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Coast Guard has given the Frankfort Lighthouse to the City of Frankfort under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. It’s one of 15 historic light stations in Michigan that have been transferred at no cost to nonprofits and government agencies.

The Frankfort North Breakwater Light entry at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light details the long history of the lights at Frankfort Harbor and says that:

By 1924, the total car ferry tonnage through Frankfort Harbor was twenty five times greater than that prior to the establishment of the ferries. To better serve this vital commerce, the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of a pair of reinforced concrete arrowhead-type breakwaters at the harbor entrance in order to create a large stilling basin to protect the opening into the harbor. With the completion of these breakwaters in the early 1930’s, the twin piers at the entry into Lake Betsie no longer served any purpose. With plans in place to shorten them into short stub piers, the North Pierhead Light was lifted from the pier onto the deck of a barge and carried out to the end of the North Breakwater. A square steel base 25 feet in height had been erected on the end of the breakwater to receive it, and the tower was lifted onto the new base. After being bolted into position, the new tower stood 67 feet in height from the upper level of the pier to the top of the lantern ventilator ball. By virtue of its location on the concrete pier, the light stood at a focal plane of 72 feet, and the 17,000 candlepower incandescent electric light within the Fourth Order Fresnel was visible for a distance of 16 miles in clear weather.

Be sure to click for much more including some very cool old photo of the South Pier fog bells and the story of captain George Tifft, who more or less founded Frankfort when his schooner was driven into Lake Betsie.

See this photo bigger, in Jason’s fantastic ice slideshow, and purchase prints on his photography website.

Michigan in Pictures has a great vintage postcard of the Frankfort Light in winter and you can see the tower in this shot by jimflix from the Absolute Michigan pool.

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