I’ll never miss a chance to tout Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light as one of the premier resources for information about Michigan’s lighthouses, as well as others on the Great Lakes. He packs them full of the history including the political maneuverings and economic reasons for lighthouse development and closure and peppers in (sorry – couldn’t resist) historical photos and pictures from his own visits.
The entry on the Menominee North Pier Light details the lumber boom that led to the construction of the first lighthouse in 1877 and the development of the iron ore rich Menominee Range. He continues:
The town of Menominee continued to reap the benefits of the Range, and as a result significant harbor improvements were undertaken in the 1920’s, At their completion in 1927, a prefabricated octagonal cast iron tower was delivered by vessel, and lowered onto the pier.
The thirty-four foot tower was painted white, and integrated with an attached fog signal building. An elevated wooden catwalk stretched along the wooden pier to provide the keepers with safe access to the light during periods when waves crashed across the surface of the pier. The octagonal cast iron lantern room was outfitted with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens of unknown manufacture.
At some point thereafter, the wooden pier was replaced by a concrete structure with a forty-foot diameter circular crib at its offshore end. At this time, the fog signal was eliminated with the inclusion of an automated electrically operated signal in the tower. With automation of the light in 1972, the need for daily maintenance of the light was also eliminated, and the iron catwalk was removed from the pier.
The tower was painted bright red, and relocated to a white painted concrete platform in the center of the crib. Its elevated position on the pier provided a focal plane of forty-six feet.
While the catwalk no longer snakes its way along the pier, the iron tower still stands guard over the harbor entrance, its jewel-like Fresnel lens replaced by a stark modern 300mm plastic lens.
Read on for more at Seeing the Light.