Manitou Island Light Station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Manitou Island Light
Undated USCG photo of the station
Manitou Island Light Station is located in Michigan
Manitou Island Light Station
Location Manitou Island, Michigan
Coordinates 47°25′11″N 87°35′14″W / 47.41972°N 87.58722°W / 47.41972; -87.58722Coordinates: 47°25′11″N 87°35′14″W / 47.41972°N 87.58722°W / 47.41972; -87.58722
Year first constructed 1850
Year first lit 1862
Automated 1978
Construction Iron
Tower shape Skeletal with central column
Markings / pattern White
Height 42.5 feet (13.0 m)
Original lens Third order Fresnel lens
Current lens 12-volt solar powered 7.5-inch (190 mm) acrylic optic
ARLHS number USA-470
USCG number


Manitou Island Light Station
Nearest city Copper Harbor, Michigan
Built 1861
MPS U.S. Coast Guard Lighthouses and Light Stations on the Great Lakes TR
NRHP Reference # 84001773[1]
Added to NRHP July 19, 1984

The Manitou Island Light Station is a lighthouse located on Manitou Island, off the tip of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.[1]


The Manitou Island Light Station consists of a skeletal steel light tower with associated keeper's house,[2] outbuildings, and various walkways and foundations.[3] The tower base measures 26 feet (7.9 m) square at the base and is 17.5 feet (5.3 m) high.[2] The base supports a 42.5 feet (13.0 m) high skeletal tower, atop which is a cast iron ten-sided watch room and ten-sided lantern.[2] A circular staircase covered with iron and lined with wood provides access to the watchtower.[2] The original lens was a Third Order Fresnel Made by Le Paute of Paris and had six separate panels, each with a bull's eye prism.[2] The current lens is also a Third Order Fresnel, with four panels inscribed P. Barbier and Co., Paris.[2]

The keeper's house is a ten-room, two-story frame structure on a stone foundation.[3] It is sided with asbestos shingles (likely from the 1930s) and shingled with asphalt.[3] The interior still has some original doors and woodwork, but much of the wall material and flooring are modern additions.[3]


The first lighthouse on Manitou Island was a rubble-stone tower[3] built in 1850.[2] In 1861, the current light replaced it; the keeper's house was built the same year.[2] A fog signal was added in 1871, and buildings to house it in 1875. These signals were refurbished in 1899.[4] In 1895, an oil house was added, in 1901 a boathouse, and in 1930 a concrete fog signal building was constructed, replacing the earlier one.[3] It is the oldest iron skeletal light tower on the Great Lakes.[2]

The light was automated in 1978, and is still in use as a navigational aid.[5] In 2004, the Keweenaw Land Trust acquired the light from the United States Government, along with surrounding land,[3] under the auspices of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.[6] The area is open to the public, and is available for camping, rock collecting, hiking, boating, sea kayaking, fishing, and sightseeing.[6]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Manitou Island Light Station form the state of Michigan, retrieved 8/19/09
  4. ^ Terry Pepper, Manitou Island Lighthouse, Seeing the Light 
  5. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Michigan". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. Retrieved August 19, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Manitou Island Light Station Preserve from the Keweenaw Land Trust, retrieved 8/19/09

External links[edit]