SOUTH MANITOU ISLAND

Year Established:
1840
Existing:
Yes
Source:
LL-1901
Download:
File Type:
jpg (image/jpeg)
Photo Date:
2013
Photo Courtesy of:
US Lighthouse Society Archives
Collection / Donor:

LOCATION

Location:
SOUTH MANITOU ISLAND/LAKE MICHIGAN
Latitude:
45° 00'29"
Longitude:
86° 05'38"
City / Town:
LELAND
U.S. State:
Michigan
Location County:
LEELANAU
Country:
United States

OWNER & ACCESS

Open to Public:
Yes
Light List Data:
  1. SOUTH MANITOU ISLAND
Light list data courtesy Gary Riemenschneider

STRUCTURE

Year Discontinued:
1958
Disposition:
Owned by NPS
Year Tower Established:
1871
Tower Construction Material:
BRICK
Tower Foundation:
PILING
Height of light above mean high water, in feet:
104 FT ABOVE WATER
Height, in feet, from base of structure to center of lantern:
91 FT
Tower Shape:
CONICAL
Fog Signal Building?:
Yes
Year Fog Signal Building Constructed:
1875
Keeper's Quarters?:
No
Year Keeper's Quarters:
1858
Keeper's Quarters Construction:
YELLOW BRICK
Other Structures:
MAGAZINE, WHISTLE SHED

OPTICS

Active Aid to Navigation?:
No
Current Optic:
REMOVED
Original Optic Type:
THIRD ORDER, FRESNEL
Year Original Lens Installed:
1871
Private Aid:
No
Year Automated:
1935
USCG Access to Optics:
No

Comments:

Historical Information:

  • 1839: Construction began on the South Manitou site. A small keeper’s quarters was built with a lantern room on the roof of one end.
  • 1850s: Responsibilities of the light station were not taken seriously. Soon trees had grown to obscure the light. The house was in disrepair. Inspection reports went largely unnoticed.
  • 1857: The lens was to be replaced. Work crews found that replacing the entire site was the only viable option.
  • 1858: Work began on the new structure using plans for two lighthouses built on the Great Lakes previously, Port Washington and Grand Traverse. Built of “cream city bricks”, the keeper’s quarters had a wooden lantern affixed to one end of the roof which housed a fourth order Fresnel Lens.
  • 1860s: It was evident that the small squat lighthouse was ineffective. A tower would be needed to light the passage.
  • 1871: Work began on a 65 foot brick tower. The house was retained and attached to the new tower with a covered walkway. The lantern was removed from the roof.
  • 1872: A 3rd Order Fresnel lens was lit for the first time in late September.
  • 1875: The addition of a fog signal building was completed. It housed the first steam powered fog signal on Lake Michigan.
  • 1935: The station was automated.
  • 1958: The last keepers left the station.
  • 1970: The National Park Service made the Sleeping Bear area a park and the park service took over the light station.
  • The station remains in the care of the National Park Service and is open to the public. It has been restored and re-lit with a replica lens.

Entered by:
t.wheeler
Entered Date:
Jul 21, 2017