Category Archives: Lighthouses

Huron County Lighthouse Tour


I stumbled upon these videos a couple of years ago and was impressed with their high quality production. However I don’t think they were well promoted as they only have a about 1,500 views.

The videos were apparently part of a promotional campaign called LIVEHuron produced  by Huron County Economic Development Corporation. If this is a promotional campaign then its current status is “SECRET”. Anyway the videos are excellent.  Worth a look. If you think this is pretty good stuff please Like and Share.


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Port of Call – Harbor Beach Michigan


As the world’s largest man made harbor, the port of Harbor Beach is an ideal stopping point for sailors making their way up the shore of Lake Huron. With its protected port and town that’s steps away from the Marina, Harbor Beach offers sailors and boaters a  welcome break and an ideal provisioning point. If you find yourself with a few extra hours there are some great little site seeing trips that are close and interesting. Some are walking distance while some will require an Uber ride from dockside.

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Harbor Beach Light House – If you’re in the harbor on a Saturday and have $20 you can get a small 10 minute boat ride and guided tour of this Spark-plug light located at the tip of the break wall.  You can access four of the six levels of this working light and get a taste of local history. Figure taking about one hour for the entire tour. If the weather is ideal the best advice is to take your best pictures on the ride back with the sun higher in the sky. The fee covers the lighthouse trip and entry to the museum.


Grice House – The home is a prime example of a mid-19th century working home in thegrice-house-museum days before electricity. With its period kitchen, parlor, sewing room and bedroom you can imagine what life was like in the late 1800’s  There are collections and artifacts of local maritime history, history of the Great Lakes, and of early lumbering in Harbor Beach. This home was constructed in 1874 by James G. Grice, and is listed in the national Registry of Historical Places.

On the grounds there is a one room school house from the early 1900’s The school is furnished with desks, books and the stove typically found in one room country schools of that era.

The GriceHouse is a short walk from the Harbor Beach Marina on the north end of town.  Tours for the museum are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – 1-4 pm, Saturday – 10 am-4 pm, Sunday – 1-4 pm, and by appointment by calling 989-479-3363. Admission is $5.


murphy-museum-smallFrank Murphy Museum – Frank Murphy is listed as one of Michigan’s most notable and accomplished politicians. He was the Mayor of Detroit, Governor of Michigan, Governor-General/U.S. High Commissioner of the Philippine Islands, Attorney General of the United States and finally a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Born in Harbor Beach in 1890, he graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and returned to Harbor Beach to practice law early in his career. Frank Murphy was a national defender of civil rights. His was author to the dissent position of the Supreme Court in the Korematsu vs. the US case, which upheld the legality of Japanese internment camps during WWII. Murphy called the decision “legalization of racism.” A plaque highlighting his famous position is outside the museum.

The Frank Murphy Memorial Museum south of the Marina on Huron Street next to the Visitor’s Center at 142 S. Huron Avenue.  Tours for the museum are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Hours: Tues-Fri: Noon-4pm, Sat-Sun: 10am-4pm, and by appointment.  Admission: Adult: $2 / Child: $1


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Pointe Aux Barques Light House – This is well north of Harbor Beach but worth the drive.  The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse ranks among the ten oldest lighthouses in Michigan. It is an active lighthouse maintained by the US Coast Guard remotely, located in Lighthouse County Park on Lake Huron near Port Hope, Michigan in Huron County. “Pointe aux Barques” Francois for  ‘Point of Little Boats’, a descriptor of the shallow shoals and reefs that lurk beneath these waves, presenting a hazard to boats as they round Michigan’s Thumb. This historic landmark marks the opening of Saginaw Bay. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse only on Memorial and Labor Day weekends.


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Lighthouses of Michigan’s Upper Thumb


 

Port Austin Reef Lighthouse

The light was first lit in 1878, and its pier was modified in 1899. It is still operational and is automated. The foundation materials are a pier, and the tower is constructed of yellow brick, with buff markings. It is an octagonal, 60-foot tall tower, with an attached keeper house. However, the focal plain is 76 feet (23 m). It originally had a fourth-order Fresnel lens  by Henry Lepaute of Paris and installed in 1899. In 1985 the lens was replaced by a 12-volt solar-powered Tideland Signal 300 mm acrylic optic,which eliminated the need to maintain the submarine cable.

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Photo by Douglas Glancy via Flickr

Charity Island Light

The octagonal cast iron lantern displayed a fixed white Fourth Order Fresnel lens light which was constructed in 1857 with a 39-foot tower which provided a 13-nautical-mile range of visibility. The Charity Island Preservation Committee of the Arenac County Historical Society is restoring the tower. The original keeper’s house was razed, and a new restored private residence has been built in its place and on its foundation.It is being operated as a restaurant and a bed and breakfast.

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Photo by headclown8 via Flickr

Port Aux Barques Light

The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse ranks among the ten oldest lighthouses in Michigan. It is an active lighthouse maintained by the US Coast Guard remotely, located in Lighthouse County Park on Lake Huron near Port Hope, Michigan in Huron County. “Pointe aux Barques” means ‘Point of Little Boats’, a descriptor of the shallow shoals and reefs that lurk beneath these waves, presenting a hazard to boats as they round Michigan’s Thumb.

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Harbor Beach Lighthouse

The Harbor Beach Lighthouse is a “spark-plug lighthouse” located at the end of the north break-wall entrance to the harbor of refuge on Lake Huron.The break-wall and light were created by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to protect the harbor of Harbor Beach, Michigan, which is the largest man-made freshwater harbor in the world. Harbor Beach is located on the eastern edge of the Thumb of Huron County, in the state of Michigan.

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Own a Lighthouse on Saginaw Bay


Gravelly Shoals LighthouseThe federal government is taking bids on three lighthouses in the Great Lakes off the coast of Michigan.

The Grand Rapids Press reports the lighthouses are being sold through an online auction as part of efforts to offload obsolete properties.

The lighthouses for sale are the Skillagalee Island light off of northern Michigan’s Emmet County, the Gravelly Shoal light in Saginaw Bay, and the Spectacle Reef light in northern Lake Huron.

Gravelly Shoals Light is an automated lighthouse that is currently an active aid to navigation on the western side of Saginaw Bay. The light is situated about 2.7 miles offshore and was built to help guide boats through the deeper water between the southeast end of Gravelly Shoals and Charity Island. Architecturally this is considered to be Art Deco style.Gravelly Shoals Light

When lighthouses are no longer used by the Coast Guard, they first get offered to state and local governments or historical preservation organizations at no cost. Earlier this year, three Michigan lighthouses became available for stewardship.

However, if no one applies for the structure or no applications are approved, the lighthouses are auctioned to the public.

The new owners would have to maintain the lights following government standards for the treatment of historic properties. Bidding Swimming Off the Lightis open only to nonprofit organizations.

Compiled from web entries by Wikipedia and the Detroit Free Press.