Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse by Madalena

April 20, 2008 at 7:18 pm Leave a comment

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

There are more than one hundred lighthouses in Michigan. They all guide ships through storms and darkness. Mariners depended on lighthouses in Michigan because if there were not any lighthouses, they would not see where they were going or where land was. With its different facts, location, physical characteristics, history, and present happenings, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is very interesting.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is on Lake Michigan at the northernmost tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, just south of Mackinaw Bridge. It is located on the Straits of Mackinac. The county of Old Mackinac Lighthouse is Cheboygan. The latitude is 45 47’ 15” and the longitude is 8.4 43’ 46”.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse has many special features, such as its shape and color. The lighthouse itself is a 50-foot cylindrical tower, which is attached to a large, two-story square tower and the two-story lighthouse keeper’s home. These structures are made of light brown brick with gray stones along the bottom. The roof is bright red. This lighthouse is known for its castle look.

Like most lighthouses in the history of the Great Lakes, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse has seen some changes over the years. Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is just south of the most narrow point of the Straight of Mackinac. Before the lighthouse was built, ships had trouble seeing where it was safe to go, especially at night. The treacherous Straits of Mackinac also had a lot of fog. For a long time, nothing was done, even though many ships sank in the Straits of Mackinac. Finally Congress approved the construction of a fog signal and lighthouse, and building stared immediately after, in the summer of 1890. A lighthouse keeper was needed on hand twenty-four hours a day to maintain the light. The first lighthouse keeper was George Marshall in 1890, and he stayed for twenty-nine years. Then, in 1919, George’s adopted son, James Marshall, served as light keeper until 1940, when Henrick Olsen became the third keeper of the light. The fourth was John Campbell, who served for seven years until the station closed in 1957. That is some of Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse’s history.

The way the lighthouse worked did not change very much over the years. The government spent $20,000.00 to build the lighthouse, and the builder, John Peter, made it so well that it is still a great structure today. Until 1957, the 4th order Frensel lens kept shining red, and the fog signal kept bellowing, but a few minor changes were made from the 1910’s to the 1940’s. The lens lamp fuel was changed from kerosene to incandescent oil vapor in 1913. The oil lamp was replaced with an electric light in 1929. A radio signal was added toward the end of the 1930’s. Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse had an oil house around the back. The Frensel lens is not operational today.

Even though Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is open to the public, it does not burn today. They built it on land so the waves don’t hurt or damage the lighthouse. It was built 62 feet above land so that the boats would see the light. It was established in 1890. Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was decommissioned in construction of the Mackinaw Bridge.

There are so many interesting facts to discover about the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. There is a town close by named Marquette. The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is near where Marquette died. It is between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. There used to be a fort under the lighthouse. I hope I can go visit this lighthouse and see it for myself one day.

Entry filed under: Madalena.

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