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.

Michigan’s Second Oldest City: Looking back on St. Ignace


St Ignace Lighthouse, photo by Sheldon Spurrell

You may know that Père Jacques Marquette founded Michigan’s oldest city Sault Sainte-Marie in 1668, but do you know Michigan’s second old city? If you can read titles, you know that’s St. Ignace, founded in 1671 and named in honor of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Here’s some of the history of St. Ignace from the St. Ignace Visitor’s Bureau:

The natives of the St. Ignace region were migratory. In the spring, the Anishinabeg gathered maple sugar and fished sturgeon and smelt. Summer found them in settlements surrounded by crops of corn, potatoes and squash, and near the abundant supplies of wildlife, fish and berries. They developed efficient housing, watercraft, hunting and farming tools.

The heritage of the Straits evolved and changed over the centuries beginning with the arrival of Roman Catholic missionaries and then French and British explorers and fur traders … The natural waterway joining Lakes Michigan and Huron at the Straits of Mackinac generated extensive water traffic, and prompted the establishment of an outpost during the period of French occupation. The outpost – Fort de Buade – became the seat of King Louis XIV’s authority in the interior of North America. French notables including Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle and Antoine Lamothe Cadillac spent time at the post. St. Ignace was among the largest settlements in New France from the last decade of the 15th century until the establishment of Detroit in 1701. The British arrived in the St. Ignace region with the defeat of the French during Seven Years War.

St. Ignace played a pivotal role in the fur trade until this industry began to wane. By the mid-1800’s the financial importance of commercial fishing to the economic well-being of the area eclipsed that of the fur trade. Ancillary industries including curing, packing and shipping augmented the fishery. It was during this period that the Mackinaw Boat became a familiar sight on the waters in and around the Straits. As the lumber industry in Michigan evolved, St. Ignace became a center for mill yards and its proximity to the shipping lanes added to its importance as a commercial hub in the northern Great Lakes area.

Read on for more including travel information.

Sheldon took this photo back in July of 2012 at sunrise. View it bigger and see more in his Michigan slideshow.

More from St. Ignace on Michigan in Pictures.

Round Island Run

Ferry & lighthouse

Round Island, MI, photo by Bill Johnson

Bill took this photo 21 years ago on September 21, 1995! It shows the Star Line Ferry’s Nicolet speeding past the Round Island Lighthouse. Star Line explains:

Star Line Ferry was started by Tom Pfeiffelmann, Sam McIntire, and others in the late 1970s. They purchased Argosy Boat Line. The company was then renamed Star Line after the 5 original stockholders making up a 5 pointed star. At that time they operated slower ferries including the Nicolet, Treasure Islander and Flamingo.

In 1979 Star Line bought their first fast ferry, Marquette. Over the next few years the old LaSalle and Nicolet were replaced with sisters to the Marquette. In 1987 Star Line decided to take it up a notch with Radisson, an 85-foot fast ferry which was modeled after a luxury yacht.

View Bob’s photo background big and see more in his Lighthouses slideshow.

PS: Check out this cool yesterday and today at Round Island Lighthouse on Michigan in Pictures!

Today & Yesterday at Point Iroquois Lighthouse


Point Iroquois Lighthouse on Whitefish Bay, photo by Cole Chase Photography

The Point Iroquois Lighthouse page at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has a 100+ hear old photo of the light taken from almost exactly the same angle as Cole’s! View his bigger and see more great shots from fall of 2014 in his Autumn in Upper Michigan slideshow.


Point Iroquois Light Station in 1905, showing the fog signal building constructed in 1890. Note that the 1885 bell tower is still in place to the immediate left of the dwelling.

The photo is courtesy of the Point Iroquois Lighthouse and Historical Museum, and you can click the link for more about the museum!

Sunrise on McCarty’s Cove & Marquette Harbor Lighthouse


“McCarty’s Cove” Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, photo by John McCormick

Just got back from Marquette, and I have to say, this is one cool city!!

John took this photo back in August of 2011 at sunrise at McCarty’s Cove, one of Marquette’s best beaches according to Travel Marquette. I really had to dig (seriously, a Mining Journal history quiz was all I had to go on) to learn that McCarty’s Cove is named after Mike McCarty whose business, Lake Superior Ice, operated at that location. I’m not sure how long, but in 1919 they took over the Marquette Ice Company. Know more? Post it in the comments!

UPDATE:  Ann Fisher (who is a contributing photographer to Michigan in Pictures) shares:

“McCarty’s ice business lasted at least into my childhood (late 50’s, early 60’s). I remember going there to buy ice when we were making homemade ice cream in our hand-cranked ice cream maker.”

The Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is now a museum – click for more.

View John’s photo bigger, see more in his Sunsets/Sunrises slideshow, and view and purchase his work at michigannutphotography.com (FYI you can buy this photo right here).

Grand Haven Pierfolk


Pierfolk, photo by Jamie MacDonald

View Jamie’s photo of the Grand Haven Pier bigger, see more in his Buildings and Structures slideshow, and view & purchase his work at jmacdonaldphoto.com.

50 Shades of Blue

50 Shades of Blue

50 Shades of Blue, photo by John Hill Photography

A simply gorgeous shot of Au Sable Point and the Au Sable Light Station in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

View this photo background big on Twitter and definitely follow John on Instagram!