White Shoal Light & Terry Pepper

White Shoal Light by Joel Dinda

White Shoal Light by Joel Dinda

Terry Pepper was almost certainly the greatest champion ever for the lighthouses of the Great Lakes. Although he passed in 2019, his Seeing the Light website remains as a fantastic resource for the lighthouses of the western Great Lakes. The White Shoal Lighthouse entry says (in part, because these are VERY thorough):

Located approximately 20 miles east of Mackinac Point and 2.6 miles northwest of Waugoshance Island, the shallows around White Shoal had long presented a hazard for vessels entering the Straits from the either the North Shore or the Manitou Passage. Lying in an east/west orientation, and almost two miles long, the shoal was so shallow that its west end broke the water’s surface. With the dramatic increase in vessel traffic in the late 1880’s, the Lighthouse Board specifically identified White Shoal, Simmons Reef and Gray’s Reef as three Straits-area navigational hazards requiring immediate demarcation.

…Spring of 1908 saw work begin on the White Shoal light on two separate fronts. While a crew at the site leveled a one hundred and two-foot square area on the shoal through the addition and careful placement of loads of stone, a second crew worked on building a timber crib on shore at St. Ignace. Seventy-two feet square and eighteen and a half feet high, the huge crib contained 400,000 square feet of lumber, and on completion was slowly towed out to the shoal and centered over the leveled lake bottom. Once in location, the crib was filled with 4,000 tons of stone until it sank to a point at which its’ uppermost surface was level and two feet below the water’s surface.

…As work on the tower continued, the nine decks took shape within the tower. The first deck mechanical room housed the oil engine powered fog signal, heating plant, and storage for the station’s powerboat. The second deck housed a tool room, bathroom and food storage area. A kitchen, living room and one bedroom made up the third deck, with two more bedrooms and a toilet located on the fourth. A living area and another bedroom were found on the fifth deck, and the sixth and seventh contained a single open room on each. The service room made up the eighth level, and the watchroom topped the living quarters on the ninth.

Work at the station continued through the end of the shipping season in 1909, when once again the station was abandoned until work could resume with the receding ice in the spring of 1910.

Work crews returned to the station on the opening of the 1910 navigation season, and the the tower was capped with a circular watch room and lantern room, both of twelve and a half feet in diameter. The aluminum lantern featured helical astragals, which the Board had recently begun incorporating in new construction, since it was believed that they offered less light interference than the vertical astragals that had been prevalently used for the past sixty years. As construction of the tower wound to completion, the entire structure from the crib deck to lantern ventilator was given a coat of bright white paint, designed to improves the structure’s visibility during daylight hours.

More from Seeing the Light & definitely check out the tribute to Terry Pepper from the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

Joel took this photo from Shepler’s ferry Hope during a Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association lighthouse cruise in June of 2014. See more in his Lighthouse Cruise 6/16/2014 gallery on Flickr.

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Sail into the sunset … and weekend

Sunset Sailing by TP Mann

Sunset Sailing by TP Mann

TP shares: 

This shot was taken at one of my favorite places for photos, the lighthouse in Charlevoix Michigan along Lake Michigan. This is a case of perfect time and place.

Indeed!! Hope you get some of those “perfect time & place” moments this weekend & this summer.

Check out more stunning shots in TP’s Explored gallery on Flickr.

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The Mouth of the Grand River

Mouth of the Grand River by Dan Gaken

Mouth of the Grand River by Dan Gaken

Cool shot of the Grand Haven Lighthouse at the mouth of the 252-mile long Grand River. See more shots from above in Dan’s Drone Photography gallery on Flickr.

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Petite Pointe Au Sable Lighthouse

Little Sable Lighthouse 4 by kmoyerus

Little Sable Lighthouse 4 by kmoyerus

Visit Ludington explains that Little Sable Point Lighthouse was originally named Petite Pointe Au Sable:

Located in the Silver Lake State Park at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes, the Little Sable Point Lighthouse is a 107′ brick structure, constructed in 1874. This lighthouse is one of the tallest in the state of Michigan at over 100 feet and 130 steps to climb the tower. About 30 miles north, you can visit the other “Point” along Lake Michigan which is home to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse located within the Ludington State Park.

…it cost $35,000 to build and contained 3 rooms. The rare third order Fresnel lens emitted a constant white light, and flashed a brighter light at set intervals, visible 19 miles into Lake Michigan.

The early 1900s saw some changes to the lighthouse. In 1900 the tower was painted white, and an access road and storage building were added in 1902. The name was changed in 1910 to Little Sable Point Lighthouse, meaning “little point of sand,” representing its location which juts into Lake Michigan. In 1977, the tower paint was removed and the original brick exposed.

Over the years, the lighthouse has had 15 keepers; and for one month, a woman took over when the original keeper took a temporary leave. The Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association took over the maintenance of the lighthouse in 2005, and it is open to the public from late May to late September.

The Light probably looked much the same in the 1870s as it did when kmoyerus took the photo in early May. See more in their Oceana County gallery on Flickr.

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The Beacon

The Beacon by James Woolcock

The Beacon by James Woolcock

James caught an awesome sunset at the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Head over to his Flickr for more!

You can read about Eagle Harbor Lighthouse & see another angle on Michigan in Pictures.

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South Fox Island Light Station

South Fox Island Light Station by Dusty Klifman / Blueyes Below

South Fox Island Light Station by Dusty Klifman / Blueyes Below

My company recently completed a new website for the Fox Island Lighthouse Association. Their website explains:

The South Fox Light Station is located 22 miles offshore in NW Lake Michigan, south of Beaver Island and north of the Manitous. The 115 acres of MI state-owned land has much to offer, with seven original structures still standing and acres of pristine dune and wildlife; it is one of the most unique stations on Lake Michigan. The original tower was lit in 1867; the fog signal and oil house were built in 1895. The Workshop and Boat House were built in 1897. In 1934, the 68’ steel skeletal tower was brought from Sapelo Island, GA and reassembled on the island (automated in 1958). The two-story Assistant Keepers Quarters was added in 1910. The station was decommissioned in 1969.

In 1971, the State of Michigan bought the station from the Department of the Interior with a promise to provide recreational opportunity and access to the public.

You can head over to their website for information & photos about the station, its structures, and how you can help them with their work.

Diver/photographer Dusty Klifman of Blueyes Below, provided some photos for the website & the cool drone footage. Check him out for lots more photos & videos of shipwrecks & other maritime subjects.

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Frankfort Light Dream Shot

Frankfort Light Dream Shot by Noah Sorensen

Frankfort Light Dream Shot by Noah Sorensen

My friend Noah lives in Frankfort & shares: 

I just actually hit one of my dream shots 30 minutes ago. I have been waiting years for this one. Felt so good to line it up, realize my timing, rise to the occasion, and just all smiles and tears. Completely made my day. Thankful for these moments and how happy photography can make me. #puremichigan #michigan

For reference, the top of the tower is 67 feet above Lake Michigan! Follow him on Facebook or Instagram and definitely follow your dreams!

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Blue Skies, White Sails & Big Red

Blue Skies, White Sails, and Big Red by Bill Johnson

Blue Skies, White Sails, and Big Red by Bill Johnson

Reaching back to September of 2013 for this tasty shot of a sailboat gliding past the Big Red Lighthouse in Holland. See more in his awesome Lighthouses album on Flickr!

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Surf’s Up in Michigan!

Surfs Up by Julie

Surfs Up by Julie

While it seems crazy, winter, particularly November & December, are Michigan’s best surfing season. If you take a look through our photos of Michigan surfing, you’ll see that the biggest waves are the ones that come with snow & cold.

Julie took this on Sunday in Charlevoix when the temperature was a balmy 37 degrees. Head over to her Flickr for a shot of all five surfers who were out and see lots more in her Lighthouses gallery on Flickr. 

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November Gales batter Michigan

November Gales by Kevin Pihlaja

November Gales by Kevin Pihlaja

WOOD-TV has a report on the high winds that ripped Michigan this weekend:

Peak wind speeds reached 68 mph in some areas, causing intense waves along Lake Michigan. Waves at the Ludington buoy peaked at 13.5 feet.

…According to the Consumer’s Energy power outage map, 27,704 were without power across the state as of 5:20 a.m. Monday.

Norton Shores was tops with gusts of 68 MPH, and it was blowing hard in Jackson (64), Grand Rapids (63) & Lansing (54). The Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus recorded a 61 MPH gust as well. 

Kevin took this photo of waves on Lake Superior battering the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse on the Keweenaw Peninsula last November. See more in his Lake Superior photo gallery on Flickr.

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