South Manitou Island MI 2013.jpg (2.03 MB)
Photo Courtesy of:
US Lighthouse Society Archives
Collection / Donor:
SOUTH MANITOU ISLAND/LAKE MICHIGAN
City / Town:
OWNER & ACCESS
Open to Public:
Light List Data:
Owned by NPS
Year Tower Established:
Tower Construction Material:
Height of light above mean high water, in feet:
104 FT ABOVE WATER
Height, in feet, from base of structure to center of lantern:
Fog Signal Building?:
Year Fog Signal Building Constructed:
Year Keeper's Quarters:
Keeper's Quarters Construction:
MAGAZINE, WHISTLE SHED
Original Optic Type:
THIRD ORDER, FRESNEL
Year Original Lens Installed:
USCG Access to Optics:
- 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.
Jul 21, 2017