I think we can all agree that Winter is not merely coming, it’s here.
The winds howl, the snow falls, and the waves crash, yet Betsie stands more beautiful and enchanting than ever. ~Kristina Lishawa
More about Point Betsie Lighthouse (with another cool winter view) on Michigan in Pictures.
Some of the coldest air in decades has moved into Michigan, producing morning temps in the low teens to single digits and packing windchills over -20! The lowest temp? Ironwood in the western UP at -26! The weather has closed schools in much of the state and has every news outlet and the Michigan State Police warning you about the extreme conditions.
The Freep is reporting snowfall totals of 13 inches of snow in Holly and Waterford, more than 16 inches on the ground in Flint and 17 inches of snow in Clarkston as of just after midnight last night! They also have a collection of photos sent in by metro residents.
mLive has a nice collection of storm information. Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa says that lower Michigan will take the brunt of the snowfall, anywhere from 5-11 inches! They also have some tips for dealing with the extreme cold.
If you live in west Michigan, you may remember the blizzard of January 6, 1999 which dumped 30 inches of snow!
Mark’s photo was taken at Point Betsie lighthouse in January of 2012 and is also the latest cover on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook. You can view it bigger and see more in his Pte Betsie Lighthouse slideshow.
Point Betsie Light is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world. The Friends of Point Betsie website notes that the point was originally known by the French as “Point Aux Bec Scies,” meaning “sawed beak point” and that it was was built in 1858 at a cost of $5000. If you want to get a taste of life at a lighthouse, you can rent the Assistant Keeper’s apartment in the summertime.
Much more about Point Betsie Lighthouse on Michigan in Pictures!
The Point Betsie Light Station entry at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light says that although the lighthouse on the southern tip of South Manitou Island was in 1840, it wasn’t until 1853 that the decision was made to construct a lighthouse to mark the passage’s eastern side and to let ships know when to turn south.
The plan for the Point Betsey Light called for a cylindrical single-walled tower constructed of Cream City brick, standing 37 feet in height from the foundation to the top of the ventilator ball. Five concentric brick rings encircling the tower beneath the lantern, each successively larger in diameter than the lower ring, formed a support for the gallery on which an decagonal cast iron lantern was installed. The lantern was outfitted with a white Fourth Order Fresnel lens equipped with bulls eyes, which was rotated around the lamp by a clockwork drive at a precisely monitored speed to impart the station’s characteristic fixed white light with a flash every 90 seconds. By virtue of the tower’s location on the dune, the lens was located at a focal plane of 52 feet above lake level with a range of visibility of ten miles. The small two story dwelling, also of Cream City brick was located on an excavated cellar immediately inshore of the tower, to which it was connected by a short covered passageway. This passageway was outfitted with a cast iron door at the tower end in order to stop the spread of any possible fire between the two structures.
The exact date on which the Point Betsey Light was exhibited has been lost to history. While Lighthouse Board annual reports and Light Lists report the station as being completed in 1858, it was not until February 1, 1859 that David Flury, the first keeper to be assigned to the station, appears in District payroll. Thus, it may well be that while construction was completed in 1858, the Light was not activated until the opening of the 1859 navigation season.
Read on to learn much more about this gorgeous lighthouse including the steps they had to take to unsure that the pounding surf you see here didn’t destroy the light.
The terms of the multi-year deal I signed with Michigan in Pictures allow me to blog one of my own photos every 23 months or so for the purposes of shameless self promotion.
This photo is one of the images we’re using on the new web site betsiebay.net that we launched yesterday. We’ll be doing more photos and video and music. We’re just getting started, but I’m pretty happy with how the site is shaping up!
Speaking of deals and promotion and Michigan in (moving) Pictures, the Traverse City Film Festival is in town this week and we’re covering some Michigan film news including an Absolute Michigan exclusive video with Michigan filmmaker Rich Brauer.
According to Life Along the Manitou Passage’s page on the Pt. Betsie Light (developed in 2001):
The light was constructed in 1858 at a cost of $3,000 and was called the “Point Aux Bec Scies” lighthouse. This point of land is translated from the French as “sawed beak point”. The original 37 foot tower was replaced by a 100 foot structure in 1880 and houses a Fourth Order Fresnel lens. It was not fully automated until 1983, and is the last manned lighthouse on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.
Time has marched on and in June of 2004, ownership of the light was transferred to Benzie County and is operated by the Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse. They have an excellent timeline and a wealth of other information about the lighthouse, including their plans for restoration and some great historical and modern day photo galleries.
As is usually the case, Terry Pepper has an excellent narrative on Point Betsie’s history. Thanks also to Jim for uploading this large enough to be my computer wallpaper! ;)