“To pass time, the men watched television, read books and magazines, played board games, and chatted with passing ship captains by radio. One coastguardsman perfected his rappelling skills by using ropes to descend from the gallery outside the lantern room to the concrete deck below.”
~Life on North Manitou Shoal
The last Coast Guard crew left the North Manitou Shoal Light in 1980. It’s located 8 miles off the the Lake Michigan shore from Leland, and growing up I could hear the station’s fog horn from my bedroom. When I was a kid, my parents and their friends would take steaks and beer out to the light and have dinner with the guardsmen.
Now mLive reports that the light is one of four Michigan lighthouses are up for sale to the public: North Manitou Shoal Light, White Shoal Lighthouse, Gray’s Reef Light, and Minneapolis Shoal Light. The auction page explains that proceeds from the public sales go back into the US Coast Guard’s aid to navigation fund for equipment, maintenance, and resources to continue preservation and maintenance of lighthouses that are still active. On Tuesday, August 30, registered bidders who have paid the $10K deposit can tour the light along with their contractor and they haven’t yet set a closing date for the auction.
Lighthouse Friends notes that the North Manitou Shoal Light was built in 1933 to replace the North Manitou Shoal Lightship:
…anchored two miles off Dimmick’s Point. In 1909, the Lighthouse Board noted that a shoal had developed southeast of Manitou Island in recent years and requested a lightship be placed on the easterly end of the shoal to help mark the six-mile-wide channel between Dimmick’s Point and Pyramid Point on the mainland.
This light station replaces the North Manitou Lightship No. 103 and North Manitou Island Light Station, and serves as an improved mark for the outer end of the shoal projecting southerly from the south end of North Manitou Islands. A substantial saving in annual maintenance cost will be effected. The crib on which the structure is built stands in 22 feet of water, on a hard sand and coarse stone bottom. The crib is 65 feet square by 22 feet deep, and is filled with conveyor stone. The voids around the stone in the 20 outer pockets were pumped full of Portland cement grout. Arch web steel sheet piling driven 24 feet into lake bottom encloses and protects the crib.
The crib supports a hollow pier of reinforced concrete 62 feet square and 20 feet above water, with deck overhanging 2 feet on all sides. This hollow space is occupied by the steam heating plant, coal and oil storage, laundry, etc. Above the pier rises the steel building 37 feet square, two stories high, surmounted by a square tower of three stories additional height. On the top of the tower is a third-order lantern, with its focal plane 79 feet above water. The building and tower are constructed of steel channels 12 and 15 inches wide, standing vertically with flanges turned in and bolted together on the inside.