Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light shares the story of one of Michigan’s hard-luck lighthouses, the Grand Island East Channel Light. Work began in 1867 with the the clearing of a sandy peninsula on the southeast shore of the island:
As a result of the chosen site being both on low ground and close to the water’s edge, a considerable amount of cribbing was installed along the shore line to help stave-off erosion and undermining of the station’s foundation. Plans for the station building called-out a typical “schoolhouse” style combination dwelling and tower similar to that used frequently throughout the lakes. However, in order to minimize cost the building was to be of timber frame construction with wood siding, as opposed to the more common brick or stone materials used in such structures elsewhere. Painted white to increase its value as a daymark, the 1 ½ story dwelling incorporated a forty-five foot tower its southern end, and was outfitted with an oil-fired steamer lens with a focal plane of 49 feet.
…The combination of a wooden structure in such an exposed location, and its location on the low sandy area close to the water’s edge created an ongoing maintenance nightmare for the district engineers, with the station listed as one at which considerable repairs were taken every year for the following thirty years.
…Without any care throughout the years, the structure deteriorated rapidly. Without regular scraping and repainting, the once bright white structure had turned a dismal driftwood gray, and the cribs installed a hundred years previously had disintegrated completely, with the waters of Munising Bay lapping directly at the stones of the structure’s foundation.
Read on for much more including efforts that stabilized this structure and the lighthouses that replaced it after decommissioning in 1908.
View Steve’s photo background big and see more in his 2016 Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse slideshow.
More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!
Back in June, Bobby wrote, “Weathered and worn, these trees are enjoying a gorgeous summer evening along the shores of Lake Superior.”
Not ready to let summer go? There’s lots more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!
Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light says that Crisp Point Lighthouse is located on the Lake Superior coastline between Whitefish Point and Grand Island. It’s one of the most beautiful stretches of shoreline in all of the Midwest and:
It is difficult to imagine that during the 1800’s this stretch of seemingly bucolic coastline was known to mariners as “The Shipwreck Coast,” with the hulks of innumerable vessels pushed onto the shore by violent storms out of the north, or lost in the pea soup fogs which frequently enveloped the area.
Since the early 1850’s, the Lighthouse Board had been working on establishing a series of Lights to guide mariners along this treacherous stretch, with Lights established at Whitefish Point in 1848, Grand Island in 1867, Big Sable Point in 1874 and Grand Marais in 1895. As further witness to the dangers represented by this stretch of coastline, Congress approved the establishment of four life saving stations between Vermilion and Deer Park on June 20, 1874, one of which was designated as Station Ten, and built at an unnamed point approximately fifteen miles west of Whitefish Point. Although David Grummond was appointed as the first keeper at life saving station 10, it would be Christopher Crisp who served as keeper from 1878 until 1890 who would have the most lasting impact on the area, as Crisp became so well known that the point on which the station was established would become forever known as “Crisp’s Point.”
…The station was officially decommissioned in 1994, and without keepers maintaining the protective piers, shoreline erosion had progressed to the point that the lake was lapping at the very base of the tower itself. After the brick service room collapsed in November 1996, the GSA feared that the tower itself was in danger of toppling, and not wishing the responsibility and cost of stabilizing or demolishing the tower, the property was scheduled for auction in 1997.
Ohio visitors Don and Nellie Ross came across the old station, and taken with the natural beauty and history of the location, partnered with a number of area residents to form the Crisp Point Lighthouse Preservation Society, with their charter being the restoration and long term survival of what was left of the station.
Read on for lots more and historical photos. Terry adds that a visit to Crisp Point is a “must” for any lighthouse fans, as it remains one of the most desolate and beautiful locations in all of the Great Lakes. More about the lighthouse and its preservation at crisppointlighthouse.org.
More lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!
Shawn of Lake Superior Photo shared this and writes:
So.. it looks like aurora could be active through the weekend… good luck photo: one of the more memorable geomagnetic experiences from the south shore of Superior… a very animated proton arc from a little over a month ago
NOAA/NWS Space Weather Prediction Center confirms that a G1 warning is in effect tonight & tomorrow that brings the chance of northern lights sightings to Michigan and an even more potentially potent G2 warning is in effect for the 24th. Click for more about the scales and definitely consider subscribing for aurora alerts!!
As I shared a couple of weeks ago, the first-ever Fresh Coast Film Festival takes place next week (October 13-16) in Marquette. It’s a documentary film festival celebrating the outdoor lifestyle, water-rich environment and resilient spirit of the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest. In my article about the festival on Absolute Michigan I made a list of some of the films that were most exciting to me, including the one in the trailer below, Skips Stones for Fudge. It’s the story of competitive stone skippers Russ “Rock Bottom” Byars and Kurt “Mountain Man” Steiner that features the championships at Mackinac Island.
The film is just one of a diverse offering, and the festival will also make the outdoors a part the fun with guided outdoor activities to introduce visitors to the outdoor playground of the Marquette area. Rock climbing, fly fishing, sea kayaking, waterfall hikes and mountain bike rides will be offered as well!