Bois Blanc Light

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Bois Blanc Light
1867 Bois Blanc Lighthouse (showing 1924 steel tower)
Bois Blanc Light is located in Michigan
Bois Blanc Light
Location Bois Blanc Island, Michigan
Coordinates 45°48′40″N 84°25′19″W / 45.811°N 84.422°W / 45.811; -84.422Coordinates: 45°48′40″N 84°25′19″W / 45.811°N 84.422°W / 45.811; -84.422
Year first lit 1867
Deactivated 1924
Construction yellow brick
Tower shape square
Markings / pattern Natural w/white lantern
Height Tower - 38 feet (12 m)
Focal height Focal plane - 53 feet (16 m)[1]
Original lens Fourth order Fresnel Lens
Current lens removed
Range 11.7 nautical miles; 21.7 kilometres (13.5 mi)
Characteristic [2]
ARLHS number USA-068
USCG number 7-12535[3]

Bois Blanc Light can refer to one of five lighthouses erected on Bois Blanc Island, Michigan, in Lake Huron. Two of the lighthouses are currently standing.


The original structure, built in 1829, was the second lighthouse constructed on Lake Huron.[4] Due to rising water levels, the lighthouse became unstable, and eventually collapsed on December 9, 1837.[5] The lighthouse was rebuilt in the summer of 1839, further inland from the original structure. Eventually this structure also became dilapidated, and a new lighthouse was constructed in 1867.

This light was decommissioned in 1924 and boarded up, being replaced by an automated acetylene light atop a 35-foot (11 m) tall black steel skeleton tower to the east of the old light. The old station property and buildings were sold to Earl J. Coffey on August 24, 1925, and some time thereafter the steel skeletal tower was replaced by the currently operational cylindrical D9 tower with solar-powered 7.9-inch (200 mm) acrylic optic, which is basically a tube with a light on the top. It is functional, but spartan.


The 1867 lighthouse is now owned by the Martin and Reinhart Jahn families, who have gone to great lengths in restoring the historic structure, which was in severely deteriorated condition when they took ownership.[6] The structures on the site are a remarkably complete set, and also include the old life saving station, a brick outhouse, a brick oil shed, and a cement boathouse on the South side of the island.[7]

The light is listed on the state inventory of historic structures.[8]

A private boat is, of course, the best way to see this light close up. Short of that, Shepler's Ferry Service out of Mackinaw City offers periodic lighthouse cruises in the summer season. Its "Eastbound Tour" includes passes by Round Island Light, Bois Blanc Island and Lighthouse, Poe Reef Light and Fourteen Foot Shoal Light. Schedules and rates are available from Shepler's.[9][10]

It is also possible to do a seaplane tour of the Mackinac Straits to see the lights in the area.[11]

Specialized Further reading[edit]

  • Brisson, Steven C. (Mackinac State Historic Parks chief curator). Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse: A History & Pictorial Souvenir (1/29/2008).[12]
  • "A Tour of the Lights of the Straits." Michigan History 70 (Sep/Oct 1986), pp. 17–29.


External links[edit]