Beaver Island Head Light

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Beaver Island Head Light
Beaver Island Head Light (waterside view)
Beaver Island Head Light is located in Michigan
Beaver Island Head Light
Location Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, Michigan
Coordinates 45°34′35″N 85°34′21″W / 45.57639°N 85.57250°W / 45.57639; -85.57250Coordinates: 45°34′35″N 85°34′21″W / 45.57639°N 85.57250°W / 45.57639; -85.57250
Year first lit 1858
Deactivated 1962
Foundation reinforced concrete
Construction brick
Tower shape cylindrical (attached Victorian lightkeeper house)[1]
Markings / pattern yellow (natural) w/grey lantern and parapet, red roof
Height Tower - 46 feet (14 m)[2]
Focal height 103 feet (31 m)
Original lens 14 Lewis lamps and reflectors
Current lens Fourth Order Fresnel lens removed & on display
Range 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)[3]
ARLHS number


Beaver Island Light Station
Location East Side Drive
Peaine Township, Michigan
NRHP reference # 78001495[4]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 29, 1978
Designated MSHS April 5, 1974[5]
Heritage place listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Michigan state historic site Edit this on Wikidata

The Beaver Head Light is located high on a bluff on the southern tip of Beaver Island. Boats trying to navigate North on Lake Michigan need to carefully work their way between Beaver Island and Gray's Reef.

The 46-foot (14 m) cylindrical tower was built in 1858, to replace an 1852 tower. The decagonal lantern room offers panoramic vistas of the Lake. The tower is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. though 9:00 p.m. during the summer.

In 1866, the attached yellow brick lighthouse keeper's dwelling was constructed. A frame addition was added to the keepers quarters to accommodate assistant keepers.[6]

In 1915, the 22-by-40-foot (6.7 m × 12.2 m) fog signal building was constructed. Other outbuildings on the grounds including an oil house, garage and storage building and outhouse.

A radio beacon was placed in 1962, at which time the station was decommissioned and declared surplus.[1] That same year, the original Fourth Order Fresnel lens was removed and placed in the dwelling, where it can still be seen.[6]

In 1975, the Charlevoix Public Schools purchased the site for $1.00. After some vandalism was incurred, in 1978 the District founded an alternative school for youth aged 16–21.[1] The school district has operated an Environmental and Vocational Educational Center in the keepers dwelling. Maintenance and restoration of the structure is part of the curriculum.[6] Beginning in 1978, recurrent summer work/study programs greatly restored the station, which was then opened as a school.[7]

In 2003, a grant was obtained to repair spalling of the exterior brick work on the fog signal building.[8] A state grant awarded two years later provided $23,000 for oil house restoration.[7]

The light station is listed on National Register of Historical Places (reference #78001495). It is also on the State List/Inventory.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, Beaver Head Lighthouse.
  2. ^ Terry Pepper, database on heights and focal planes.
  3. ^ After 1858 upgrade."Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Michigan". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  5. ^ State of Michigan (2009). "Beaver Island Light Station". Retrieved June 26, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Wobser, David, Beaver Head (Beaver Island) Light at
  7. ^ a b Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of the United States: Michigan's Western Lower Peninsula". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
  8. ^ Terry Pepper. "Seeing the Light – Beaver Head Light". Archived from the original on 30 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bibliography on Michigan lighthouses.
  • Crompton, Samuel Willard & Michael J. Rhein, The Ultimate Book of Lighthouses (2002) ISBN 1-59223-102-0.
  • Hyde, Charles K., and Ann and John Mahan. The Northern Lights: Lighthouses of the Upper Great Lakes. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8143-2554-8
  • Jones, Ray & Bruce Roberts, American Lighthouses (Globe Pequot, September 1, 1998, 1st Ed.) ISBN 0-7627-0324-5.
  • Jones, Ray, The Lighthouse Encyclopedia, The Definitive Reference (Globe Pequot, January 1, 2004, 1st ed.) ISBN 0-7627-2735-7.
  • Noble, Dennis, Lighthouses & Keepers: U. S. Lighthouse Service and Its Legacy (Annapolis: U. S. Naval Institute Press, 1997. ISBN 1-55750-638-8.
  • Oleszewski, Wes, Great Lakes Lighthouses, American and Canadian: A Comprehensive Directory/Guide to Great Lakes Lighthouses. Gwinn, Michigan: Avery Color Studios, Inc., 1998. ISBN 0-932212-98-0.
  • Penrod, John, Lighthouses of Michigan (Berrien Center, Michigan: Penrod/Hiawatha, 1998) ISBN 0-942618-78-5.
  • Pepper, Terry. "Seeing the Light: Lighthouses on the western Great Lakes". Archived from the original on 2008-01-30. 
  • Putnam, George R., Lighthouses and Lightships of the United States. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1933).
  • United States Coast Guard, Aids to Navigation, (Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1945).
  • Scott T. Price. "U. S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation: A Historical Bibliography". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 

External links[edit]

U.S. Coast Guard Archive Photo