Manistee Pierhead lights

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North Pierhead Light
Manistee Breakwater Lighthouse
Manistee Pierhead lights is located in Michigan
Manistee Pierhead lights
Location Manistee, Michigan
Coordinates mark 44°15′06″N 86°20′47″W / 44.2517°N 86.3464°W / 44.2517; -86.3464Coordinates: mark 44°15′06″N 86°20′47″W / 44.2517°N 86.3464°W / 44.2517; -86.3464
Year first constructed 1870
Year first lit 1870
Automated 1927
Foundation pier
Construction Cast Iron
Tower shape cylindrical
Markings / pattern white with black lantern
Height 39 feet (12 m)
Focal height 55 feet (17 m)
Original lens fifth order Fresnel Lens
Current lens 12-inch (300 mm) Tideland Signal ML-300 Acrylic Optic
Intensity 5000 candlepower
Range 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi)[1]
Characteristic group occulting white light over 30 seconds
Fog signal

HORN: 1 blast every 15s (2s bl)[1]

Operates from April 1 to November 1[1]
ARLHS number USA-468
USCG number


Manistee North Pier
NRHP Reference # 90000718

The Manistee Pierhead lights are a pair of active aids to navigation located on the north and south pier in the harbor of Manistee, Michigan, "Lake Michigan’s Victorian Port City."[2]


The first light was on the south pier in 1870. Unfortunately, it burnt in the Great fire of 1871, October 8, 1871, along with the town of Manistee.[3][4] Coincidentally, Manistee burnt on the same day as the Great Chicago Fire, Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin, and fires in Port Huron and Holland, Michigan.[5]

Two lighthouses were built, one on each pier in 1875. Over the years the lights have been moved several times, including moves to and from the mainland, and to and from the south to the north pier. Lights have been torn down and rebuilt.

The current tower is located on the north pier. It is constructed of cast iron, and was first listed in 1927. The tower is a white cylinder, and the keepers house is separate. The original lens was a Fifth Order Fresnel lens.[6] The tower has also been rebuilt as the pier has been extended. Other changes have involved the placement and configuration of the fog horn.[2] The present tower is 39 feet (12 m) tall. The catwalk is one of only four that survive in the State of Michigan.[7] National Register of Historic Places, Reference # 90000718 The tower is capped with a ten-sided steel lantern. The light uses a 5,000 candlepower incandescent electric bulb, and has a flashing mechanism which displays "a group occulting white light" over 30 seconds. Its focal plane is 55 feet (17 m), and is visible for 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) in clear weather. The "Type C" diaphone is powered by an electric compressor housed in the tower, and emits a group of three blasts every 30 seconds.[2] There is also a radio beacon.[8]

The northern pier light is located on the same side of the river as the Manistee Coast Guard station, and within shouting distance of the Manistee South pier light.[4]

The south pier has a 37-foot (11 m) steel tower navigational aid. This was constructed when the lighthouse was moved to the north pier in 1927.[2]

Manistee Pierhead Light was put up for sale under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act in 2009.[9] On June 30, 2011, ownership of the light was transferred to the City of Manistee. The Manistee County Historical Museum will maintain the light.[10]


From US 31.svg US 31 go 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west on Memorial Drive, to the Fifth Ave. Beach and Park.

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