Frankfort Light

Coordinates: 44°37′50″N 86°15′08″W / 44.6306°N 86.2522°W / 44.6306; -86.2522
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Frankfort Light
Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse.
LocationFrankfort, Michigan
Coordinates44°37′50″N 86°15′08″W / 44.6306°N 86.2522°W / 44.6306; -86.2522
FoundationTwo-story metal over breakwater
ConstructionSteel clad frame
Height67 feet (20 m)
ShapePyramidal tower
MarkingsWhite with Black markings, Parapet and Lantern
HeritageNational Register of Historic Places listed place Edit this on Wikidata
First lit1873
Focal height72 feet (22 m)
Lens5th order Fresnel lens (original), 4th order Fresnel lens (current)
Range16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)[1]
CharacteristicF W Edit this on Wikidata
Frankfort North Breakwater Light
Nearest cityFrankfort, Michigan
Arealess than one acre
ArchitectBureau of Lighthouses, 9th District
MPSLight Stations of the United States MPS
NRHP reference No.05000983[2]
Added to NRHPSeptember 6, 2005

The Frankfort Light is a lighthouse located on the north breakwater in the harbor in Frankfort, Michigan. The current light was constructed in 1912 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.


U.S. Coast Guard Archive Photo of original light

The harbor at Frankfort was first dredged in 1859.[3] A series of improvements were begun in 1867, with piers completed in 1873. The original Frankfort North Breakwater lighthouse, an enclosed timber-framed pyramid beacon, was built in 1873 at the end of this long wooden pier with an elevated catwalk which led to the shore; the light was first lit on October 15, 1873. A fog signal was added in 1893.

In 1912, a new square steel pyramidal tower was constructed on the North Pier.[3] The light was electrified in 1919. In the 1920s, construction began on a pair of concrete breakwaters at the harbor entrance. Construction was complete by the early 1930s. With the earlier piers now rendered obsolete, plans were made to shorten them. In 1932,[4] the 1912 lighthouse was removed from the north pier and relocated at the head of the north breakwater. The original pyramid style lighthouse was increased in size by placing it on top of a new two-story addition.

In 2010, the US Coast Guard excessed the lighthouse, and in 2011 ownership was transferred to the city of Frankfort.[4]


The current breakwater light in Frankfort is located at the head of the north breakwater. It is a square steel pyramidal tower; the original 1912 lighthouse stands 44 feet (13 m) tall. The light is placed atop a 25-foot (7.6 m) tall square steel base. The cast iron lantern room, surrounded by a gallery, originally contained a fifth order Fresnel lens that was upgraded to a fourth order Fresnel lens. Other structures associated with the light include a radio beacon and a United States Coast Guard station.[5]


  1. ^ Light List, Volume VII, Great Lakes (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Terry Pepper. "Frankfort North Breakwater Light". Seeing the Light. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Frankfort North Breakwater, MI". Lighthouse Friends. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  5. ^ "Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse". Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy. Retrieved January 1, 2014.

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.
  • 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).
  • Price, Scott T. "U. S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation: A Historical Bibliography". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
  • Wagner, John L. "Beacons Shining in the Night: The Lighthouses of Michigan". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University.
  • Wagner, John L., Michigan Lighthouses: An Aerial Photographic Perspective, (East Lansing, Michigan: John L. Wagner, 1998) ISBN 1-880311-01-1.
  • Wright, Larry and Wright, Patricia, Great Lakes Lighthouses Encyclopedia (Erin: Boston Mills Press, 2006) ISBN 1-55046-399-3.

External links[edit]