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Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse

The original Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse was constructed of stone taken from the shore of Lake Huron in 1848. The keeper's house and separate tower were located on a three-acre clearing hacked out of the dense Michigan wilderness.

By 1857, the ravages of shoreline weather and a fire in the interior of the house created the need for a new structure. The new keeper's house and attached 89-foot tower were built of the finest brick available. The light is still an active aid to navigation, making Pointe aux Barques one of the oldest continuously operating Lights on the Great Lakes.

On September 7, 1873, the lighthouse supply ship “Haze” delivered a new lens to the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse. The lens was a sixteen-panel Third Order Fresnel Lens. The 16 panels were assembled at the top of the 89-foot tower, the lamp was lit, and the lens went into service rotated by a weight system similar to that used in a Grandfather Clock.

In 1875, a Class A lifesaving station was constructed 300 yards south of the lighthouse. It was the first lifesaving station opened on the Great Lakes. Within the 62-year history of the station over 200 rescues were credited to it and its brave crews. The Thumb Bottomland Preserve surrounding Pointe aux Barques contains 105 known wrecks, reflecting the danger posed by shoals surrounding Pointe aux Barques. The Pointe aux Barques Light is still an active lighthouse remotely maintained by the US Coast Guard.

The original Lifesaving Station has been moved back to the lighthouse grounds. There is much work to be done on it and hopes are to have it open to view in the next couple of years. The Pointe aux Barques keeper's house and tower have been completely restored and contain historical artifacts from a bygone era. The tower is open to climb, depending on volunteer availability.


A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse

The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse ranks among the ten oldest lighthouses in Michigan.

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