The Old Presque Isle

April 30, 2008 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

There are many lighthouses in Michigan, and they have all been important to Michigan’s history. In the past, ships came with lumber, so the shipping industry depended on lighthouses. Every lighthouse is unique in its own way. One of those lighthouses is the Old Presque Isle, with its important location and interesting history.

Old Presque Isle lighthouse is located on Lake Huron, near Presque Isle City. The name means “almost an island” in French. It was located there to guide sailing vessels that were carrying goods, into the harbor. The latitude and longitude are 45.3 degrees N. and 83.4 degrees W. Even though it’s called an isle, you can drive there because it is actually located on land.

As well as its useful location, Old Presque Isle has a unique appearance. It is conical in shape and only stands 30 feet tall. It is 18 feet wide at the base and tapers to 9 feet at the top. The tower is made of white stone and has a black lantern room on the top. The most unusual feature is the hand carved, stone spiral staircase that leads to the watch tower. The Old Presque Isle is a light station because the keeper’s quarters are not attached.

The Old Presque Isle lighthouse has changed in many ways, like most of the Great Lakes lighthouses. Old Presque Isle was built in 1839, by Jeremiah Moors of Detroit. It was paid for by Congress at a cost of $5,000. It was built to guide sailing vessels into the harbor to pick up and deliver goods and to seek shelter from bad weather. Henry Woolsey was the first keeper in 1840. The keeper’s duties included cleaning windows, polishing the light, and keeping the light fueled and working. This particular lighthouse is said to be haunted. For example, Old Presque Isle’s light was taken out but, people have reported that they still see it shining.

Even though the Old Presque Isle lighthouse was eventually replaced, the light was changed a few times during the 30 years that it was active. When it was first built, it had Argand Lamps with reflectors, and was fueled with whale oil. Those lamps were later replaced by Lewis lamps. In 1857, the light was upgraded to a fourth order Fresnel lens that was fueled with kerosene. It had a fixed white light that could be seen for 11 miles. The light was deactivated in 1871 when a new lighthouse was built at the end of the peninsula for better visibility. The lighthouse was sold around 1900 to A.C. Stebbins at a public auction for $75. His family rebuilt the tower and the keeper’s quarters during the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Today, the Old Presque Isle lighthouse is no longer active. It is in good condition because it is owned and maintained by the Presque Isle Township. It is open to the public. Visitors are allowed to walk through the museum and climb the tower. It was listed in The National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

The Presque Isle Lighthouse was an important part of Michigan’s history. It helped guide ships into the harbor and helped the economy grow in that area. It is the oldest surviving lighthouse tower on the upper Great Lakes. The most interesting thing I learned about this lighthouse is that many people believe it is haunted. I would like to visit Old Presque Isle someday because I want to see the ghost and learn more about this lighthouse.

Entry filed under: Rachel C..

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse by Madalena the show icarly

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April 2008

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