Bois Blanc Light
1867 Bois Blanc Lighthouse (showing 1924 steel tower)
|Location||Bois Blanc Island, Michigan|
|Year first lit||1867|
|Markings / pattern||Natural w/white lantern|
|Height||Tower - 38 feet (12 m)|
|Focal height||Focal plane - 53 feet (16 m)|
|Original lens||Fourth order Fresnel Lens|
|Range||11.7 nautical miles; 21.7 kilometres (13.5 mi)|
The original structure, built in 1829, was the second lighthouse constructed on Lake Huron. Due to rising water levels, the lighthouse became unstable, and eventually collapsed on December 9, 1837. 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. 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.
The light is listed on the state inventory of historic structures.
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.
Specialized Further reading
- Brisson, Steven C. (Mackinac State Historic Parks chief curator). Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse: A History & Pictorial Souvenir (1/29/2008).
- "A Tour of the Lights of the Straits." Michigan History 70 (Sep/Oct 1986), pp. 17–29.
- Database on Focal Plane, Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light.
- "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Michigan". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
- Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of the United States: Michigan's Eastern Lower Peninsula". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Wagner, John L. "Beacons Shining in the Night: The Lighthouses of Michigan -- Chronology". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University.
- Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light, Bois Blanc Island lights. Archived May 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Terry Pepper Seeing the Light Bois Blanc Island lights. Archived May 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- National Park Service, Maritime Heritage Program, Inventory of Historic Lights, Old Bois Blanc Island light.
- Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, Bois Blanc Light.
- Shepler's Ferry Service.
- Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light, Fourteen Foot Shoal Light.
- Stoke, Keith, A seaplane tour of the Straits.
- Old Mackinac Point Light Press Release.
- Interactive map of Lights in Northern Lake Michigan, mapped by Google
- Lighthouses in the Mackinac Straits
- Interactive map, pictures, descriptions of Northern Lake Huron lights
- Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, Bois Blanc Light
- Michigan Lighthouse Friends, Bois Blanc Light
- National Park Service Maritime Heritage Program, Inventory of Historic Lights, Old Bois Blanc Island light
- Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light, Bois Blanc Island lights
- U.S. Coast Guard Search & Rescue Index
- Wobser, David, Bois Blanc Island Light at Boatnerd.com