Sand Point Lighthouse in Baraga
August 6, 2014
Sand Point Lighthouse in Baraga is one of two Michigan Sand Point Lights listed in Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light. (the other being Sand Point in Escanaba):
At the dawn of the 1870’s, the small town of L’Anse found itself in the thick of the iron boom. With plans in place to complete the construction of the Marquette, Houghton and Ontonagon Railroad tracks into town in 1872, the naturally protected harbor at L’Anse was considered to be primary competition for Marquette and Escanaba ore shipments. With an infusion of East Coast investment dollars, ore docks and wharves quickly sprang up along the waterfront and the town’s population skyrocketed as people moved into the area to take advantage of the coming boom.
Expecting a dramatic rise in maritime traffic, the city fathers began applying every possible pressure to the Federal Government for the construction of a lighthouse to guide mariners into the harbor. Agreeing with the areas potential, the Lighthouse Board reported in 1871 that on completion of the railroad “the place will at once become an important point for the shipment of iron ore. A good harbor is found at the head of the bay, and it should be lighted.
…In September 1873, New York financier Jay Cooke declared bankruptcy. Among other interests, Cooke had served as primary financier of the North’s cause in the Civil War and was the principal backer of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The company’s collapse rippled throughout the country, with almost all of the nation’s railroads declaring bankruptcy. This Financial Panic of 1873, had disastrous impact on the nation’s business, ore shipments from Lake Superior virtually dried-up, and the docks at L’Anse sat empty
The light was finally exhibited on the night of August 10, 1878, but it has to be one of the most hard luck lights on the lakes. Read all about the trials and tribulations of Sand Point at Seeing the Light and also see some great old photos!
Many more Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.