Pier Energy at Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse


Pier Energy, photo by Aaron Springer

The Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse entry at Terry Pepper’s excellent Seeing the Light says the tip of the light is 72 feet off the water, making that spray over 80′ tall!! Click above for a ton more, but here’s something about the light tower:

1912 saw significant a significant change in the lighting of the Frankfort harbor entrance. A new square steel pyramidal tower was erected on the North Pier. Fully sheathed in steel plates, the white painted structure stood 44 feet from its base to the top of the ventilator ball. Outfitted with a fixed red Fourth Order Fresnel lens, the tower’s location on the north pier provided the new light with a focal plane of 46 feet, and a visible range of 12 miles in clear weather. The air siren from the South Pierhead light was relocated into this new structure, and set up to emit a characteristic isophase characteristic of alternating periods of 3 second blasts and 3 seconds of silence. An elevated walkway, similar to that installed on the south Pier, was erected from the new light to the shore.

…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.

Read on for lots more about the lighthouse including some great old photos.

View Aaron’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow,.

Tons more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.

4 thoughts on “Pier Energy at Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse

  1. When I look at this picture, the water spray to the left of the lighthouse looks like one of the Three Kings kneeling to give a gift to Jesus. The longer I look at it, the more obvious it becomes. Pretty awesome.

    Kathy Zink

    Sent from my iPad



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