Port Austin Light

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Port Austin Light
Port Austin Reef Light
Port Austin Light is located in Michigan
Port Austin Light
LocationPort Austin Reef, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) north of Port Austin, Michigan (Port aux Barques Township)
Coordinates44°05′N 82°59′W / 44.083°N 82.983°W / 44.083; -82.983Coordinates: 44°05′N 82°59′W / 44.083°N 82.983°W / 44.083; -82.983
Year first lit1878
FoundationBrick, cement, crushed stone
Tower shapeSquare
Markings / patternBuff square tower with attached house w/red roof.[1]
Tower height60 feet (18 m)[2]
Focal height76 feet (23 m)[1][3][4][5]
Original lensFourth order Fresnel lens
Current lens12-inch (300 mm) Tideland Signal ML-300 acrylic[4][6]
Range8 nautical miles (15 km; 9.2 mi)[1] Other sources claim 14.3 nautical miles; 26.6 kilometres (16.5 mi)[4]
CharacteristicWhite, every 6 seconds.[1]
ARLHS numberUSA-648[7][8]
USCG number7-10275
Port Austin Reef Light
MPSLight Stations of the United States MPS
NRHP reference #11000666[9]
Added to NRHPSeptember 15, 2011
Heritageplace listed on the National Register of Historic Places Edit this on Wikidata

Port Austin Lighthouse (or Port Austin Reef Light) is a lighthouse off the shore of Lake Huron, about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) north of Port Austin, Huron County Michigan sitting on a rocky reef (shoal), which is just north of the tip of the Thumb and a real hazard to navigation.


The original plans were for this lighthouse to be built on shore. The crib was built in Tawas.[10]

The light was first lit in 1878, and its pier was modified in 1899. It is still operational and is automated. The foundation materials are a pier, and the tower is constructed of yellow brick, with buff markings. It is an octagonal, 60-foot (18 m) tall tower, with an attached keeper house. However, the focal plain is 76 feet (23 m). It originally had a fourth-order Fresnel lens by Henry Lepaute of Paris and installed in 1899. The optic was 12-inch (300 mm) glass. In 1985 the lens was replaced by a 12-volt solar-powered Tideland Signal 300 mm acrylic optic,[11] which eliminated the need to maintain the submarine cable.[4][12]

Current status and activities[edit]

In 1990, volunteers from the Port Austin Reef Light Association engaged in an "heroic effort" to oust a colony of seagulls that had taken over the building, and then screened and reroofed it. Restoration efforts continue.[13] Decking has been covered with galvanized metal shingles, and painted in the bright red that is historically accurate. Railings were affixed to the access ladder, and safety chains edging the deck were replaced. Installed also were a new brick chimney and 18 new windows. In 1990, PARLA's license to renovate the structure was extended through 2020.[4]

Current restoration continues by the Port Austin Reef Light Association.[14]

The light is not open for tours.[15] It is a long and difficult trip to the light, which is always hindered by the reef, and often by the fog.[16] However, it is possible to photograph the lighthouse from shore, although it takes a long lens or digital zoom.[17]

The light was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in September 2011.[9] The site includes adjacent bottom lands.[18] A two-story on shore lighthouse keeper's house still exists.[19]

In June 2011, the General Services Administration made the Port Austin Light (along with 11 others) available at no cost to public organizations willing to preserve them.[20][21]

On July 19, 2012 it was announced that the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse Association, a Michigan non-profit organization, will take ownership of the Port Austin Light Station on Lake Huron.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Light List, Volume VII, Great Lakes (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. p. 106.
  2. ^ Pepper, Terry. "Database of Tower Heights". Seeing the Light. terrypepper.com.
  3. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of the United States: Michigan's Eastern Lower Peninsula". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  4. ^ a b c d e Extensive history of the Port Austin Lighthouse at Seeing the Light by Terry Pepper.
  5. ^ But see, based on the 1910 Coast Guard light list, a claim that the Focal plane as 80 feet (24 m). Pepper, Terry. "Database of Focal Heights". Seeing the Light. terrypepper.com.
  6. ^ But see, Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, Port Austin Reef Light. which claims a 7.9-inch (200 mm) glass optic.
  7. ^ Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society, Harbor Beach Light ARLHS USA-648
  8. ^ Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society, World List of Lights (WLOL)
  9. ^ a b "Weekly list of actions taken on properties: 9/12/11 through 9/16/11". National Park Service. September 23, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
  10. ^ Lighthouse Central, Port Austin Lighthouse Photographs, History and Directions, The Ultimate Guide to East Michigan Lighthouses by Jerry Roach (Publisher: Bugs Publishing LLC - July 2006). ISBN 0-9747977-1-5; ISBN 978-0-9747977-1-7.
  11. ^ Tideland 300 mm optic, Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light.
  12. ^ Lighthouse depot on Port Austin Light.
  13. ^ Detroit News, Interactive map on Michigan lighthouses.
  14. ^ Port Austin Reef Light Association.
  15. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Michigan". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
  16. ^ Description Port Austin Light at lighthousefriends.com
  17. ^ Interactive map, list, information for lighthouses in North and West Lake Huron. Archived 2008-04-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Michigan Lighthouse project, Port Austin Reef Light.
  19. ^ Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light, Photography of Port Austin Lighkeeper's house.
  20. ^ "For sale: Waterfront property; cozy, great views, plenty of light, needs TLC". CNN. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  21. ^ Beatty, MaryAnne. "GSA Making 12 Historic Lighthouses Available at No Cost to Public Organizations Willing to Preserve Them". GSA Website. US General Services Administration. Retrieved 12 July 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Baranski, Connie. "The Port Austin Reef Lighthouse." Central Michigan University Term Paper, 1970.
  • Port Austin Reef Lighthouse journal, 1909-1917.

External links[edit]

Port Austin Reef light.gif