Across Saginaw Bay from Michigan’s Thumb sits one of the prettiest lighthouses in Michigan. The Tawas Point Lighthouse was in operation during the lumber boom in 1876 and ran continuously until 2016. The lighthouse and tower sit on a sandy point of land that is said to be always changing. It was said that ship traffic on Saginaw Bay during the late 1800s resembled a busy highway.
This Tawas Point Lighthouse is actually the second lighthouse on the point. The first light station was built in 1853. However, the shifting sands on the point continued to grow until it was of no use to navigation. The 67-foot tower for the second light was built in 1873 and finished in time for the shipping season in 1876. The light was powered by kerosene until 1935, when it was converted to electricity. The 200,000 candle power light can be seen for 16 miles out into Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay. The fourth-order Fresnel lens is still in place.
Tawas Point Lighthouse Tower Climb Video
The Michigan History Center has produced a video that offers viewers a virtual tour of climbing the lighthouse tower. As each step is made up of the tower, bits of history and fascinating design and functional aspects of the lighthouse are revealed. In the end, there is a little test you can take to on seven of the little aspects of the Tawas Point Lighthouse.
Fun Activities at the Lighthouse
Today the lighthouse is part of Tawas Point State Park, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources maintains responsibly for the lighthouse structure and grounds. Lighthouse tours are led during most weekends each summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There are also special events, such as the Tawas Point Haunted Lighthouse weekend, in October.