Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has an extensive entry on the history of the Manistee Pierhead Light with copious information and historical photos. Terry goes deep on Manistee’s history as a lumber port:
Although the first sawmill had been established on the banks of the Manistee in 1841, settlement in the area was not widespread until the Chippewa relinquished their reservation by treaty in 1849, and the federal government offered lands along the Manistee for public sale. It did not take lumber interests long to realize the incredible potential of the Manistee which snaked a hundred miles into the forests, and lumbermen soon began lobbying for federal funding to improve the harbor and to erect a lighthouse at the river mouth. With no appropriation forthcoming, the businessmen of Manistee took the matter into their own hands, erecting a pair of short stub piers at the river mouth in an attempt to stem the deposition of sand and silt.
In 1861, Congress instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to dispatch an Engineer Officer to Manistee to conduct a survey of the river entrance. Water depth in the opening between the piers was found to be from seven to eight feet, and a 250-foot long sand bar with a water depth of less than five feet above it was identified 600 feet off the end of the piers.
…To serve this burgeoning maritime commerce, the piers were extended an additional 150 feet in 1875, and the channel between them dredged to a minimum depth of ten feet. With the main light now standing a considerable distance to the rear of the pierheads, the decision was made to replace the shore light on the north bank with a pierhead beacon on the outer end of the longer south pier. Click to view enlarged image The new south pierhead light consisted of a timber-framed pyramidal beacon typical of the type being erected on pierheads throughout the Great Lakes. With its lower half open, the upper half immediately below the gallery was enclosed to provide a small service room for lamp maintenance. Equipped with windows, the service room also served as a sheltered area in which the keeper could stand watch during inclement weather. Standing 27 feet in height, the beacon was capped with a square gallery with iron handrails and an octagonal cast iron lantern installed at its center.
Read on for a whole lot more.
About the photo, Heather writes:
I still can’t believe I managed to drag myself out of bed this morning. There were 8 minutes of pink light – and a stunning sunrise to the east that I completely ignored – followed by about 90 minutes of interesting (if not sunrise) light.