Grand Island East Channel Light

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Grand Island East Channel Light
Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse 2009.jpg
Grand Island East Channel light in 2009
Grand Island East Channel Light is located in Michigan
Grand Island East Channel Light
Location Grand Island, Alger County, Michigan
Coordinates 46°27.01′N 86°37.345′W / 46.45017°N 86.622417°W / 46.45017; -86.622417Coordinates: 46°27.01′N 86°37.345′W / 46.45017°N 86.622417°W / 46.45017; -86.622417
Year first lit 1868[1]
Deactivated 1908
Foundation Brick
Construction Wood frame
Tower shape square tower, decagonal lantern, affixed to "schoolhouse" style keeper's residence.
Markings / pattern White
Height 45 feet (14 m)[2]
Original lens Oil-fired steamer
Fifth order Fresnel[3]
Current lens none
Range 11.51 nautical miles; 21.32 kilometres (13.25 mi)[3]
Characteristic Fixed white[2]
ARLHS number


Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse
MPS Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites in Michigan TR
NRHP reference # 80004835[6]
Added to NRHP August 29, 1980
Heritage place listed on the National Register of Historic Places Edit this on Wikidata

The Grand Island East Channel Light is a lighthouse located just north of Munising, Michigan and was intended to lead boats from Lake Superior through the channel east of Grand Island into the Munising Harbor. Constructed of wood, the light first opened for service in 1868. The light was very hard to see from Lake Superior, and light maintenance was very difficult so the Munising Range Lights were constructed (Munising Rear Range Light, Munising Front Range Light) and this light was removed from service in 1908[2] or 1913[7][8] (sources vary).

The lighthouse was severely neglected, and was in danger of being washed away due to erosion.[9] The "Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse Rescue Committee" was officially formed. Private fund raising was undertaken.[10] Restoration efforts (albeit in "rustic form" not pristine as it was in service) were undertaken.[11] The theory for the lack of paint is that it is more picturesque and attractive to tourists and passing photographers.[12]

As two commentators, lamenting the possible loss of this unique light station, noted in Lighthouse Digest:

It is seen and photographed by thousands of tourists via the Picture Rocks Cruises and Grand Island Charters Glass Bottom Boat tours which make it their first stop on their numerous tours. It appears on sweatshirts, tee-shirts, coffee mugs, post cards, advertisements, and calendars. It is positively one of Michigan's most recognizable landmarks. . . .


In 2000, 85 volunteers worked steadily for thirty days, and completed 75% of a 300-foot-long (91 m) seawall to protect the light.[13] In 2000, the light has been restored and the wall completed.[12][14]

It is part of a listing on the National Register of Historic Places, Reference #80004835. Name of Listing: HISTORIC ENGINEERING & INDUSTRIAL SITES IN MICHIGAN TR. It is not listed on the state registry.[15]

Getting there[edit]

The most common way to see the light is to take either of the cruises out of Munising (Shipwreck Tour[16] or Pictured Rocks tour), or Grand Island Cruises, all of which pass by this light and pause for photographers.[3] Alternatively, sea kayak tours of Grand Island are a good way to see this light. Daily trips are available from Memorial Day weekend through October 10. Sea Kayaking is a popular method of exploring the island. and is the best way to see it, although it is a serious trip in dangerous and cold water, which should not be undertaken lightly or without proper equipment (dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature). Guides are available. The most efficient port of entry for a sea kayak, is from the harbor at Munising.[17]

Out of Munising, Shipwreck Tours and Pictured Rocks Cruises offer boat tours[18] that pass closely by this lighthouse. The ferry to tour Grand Island is available, but does not pass by either Grand Island lighthouses. They are located on private property and are not accessible.[12]

The lighthouse is owned privately, and the grounds, dwelling and tower are closed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roach, Jerry. The Ultimate Guide to Upper Michigan Lighthouses. Bugs Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9747977-2-4.
  2. ^ a b c "Grand Island (East Channel) Lighthouse, Munising, MI (Upper Peninsula)". Lighthouse Encyclopedia. Cape Cod Store. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  3. ^ a b c Pepper, Terry. "Grand Island East Channel Light". Seeing The Light. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  4. ^ Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society, Grand Island East Channel/South (Lake Superior) Light ARLHS USA-328.
  5. ^ Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society, World List of Lights (WLOL).
  6. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  7. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Michigan". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
  8. ^ Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse at Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy.
  9. ^ Most Endangered Lighthouse: Grand Island, East Channel Lighthouse, (November, 1999) Lighthouse Digest.
  10. ^ New Products Help Grand Island East Channel Light Will you help save this lighthouse? (June, 2000). Lighthouse Digest.
  11. ^ a b Harrison, Timothy and Case, Chris, Last Chance for Grand Island East Channel Light (January, 2000) Lighthouse Digest.
  12. ^ a b c Anderson, Kraig. Lighthouse Friends, Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse.
  13. ^ Grand Island East Channel Light—Closer to Rescue April, 2001. Lighthouse Digest.
  14. ^ Wobser, David, Great Laker Magazine, Grand Island East Channel Range Light, at Boatnerd.
  15. ^ National Park Service Maritime History Project, Grand Island East Channel Light at Inventory of Historic Light Stations Michigan Lighthouses
  16. ^ Shipwreck Tours, Munising, Michigan
  17. ^ "Visiting Grand Island and Pictured Rocks". National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  18. ^ Pictured Rocks cruises. Archived 2010-01-01 at the Wayback Machine.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]