Posted by: photosbymcdonald | June 4, 2011

Michigan lighthouses | Holly Michigan Fine Art Photographer

About a month ago my husband and I took a little “mini” vacation and stayed in Holland for a long weekend! While we were there, we spent one day traveling up the west coast of Michigan, visiting 8 more lighthouses.

If anyone knows me, they know I love to photograph lighthouses. I’m not quite sure why they fascinate me so, but I find each one interesting and unique, fun to find and take photos of! So far, in total, I have nearly 20 Michigan lighthouses photographed 🙂

The first one pictured happened to be my favorite of the trip – the Little Sable Point Light.  Activated in 1874, the lighthouse originally consisted of a 107-foot tower attached to a brick dwelling. The station became automated in 1955.

The next lighthouse – the Big Sable Point Lighthouse – is equally as cool as the previous. Money was appropriated for this light in 1866 by the U.S. Congress, due to the treacherous stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline between Big Sable Point and present-day Ludington. The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is one of the few Michigan lights with a tower reaching 100 feet. Completed in 1867, Big Sable’s tower measures 112 feet high. In 1968 the tradition of light-keeping begun in 1867 by Alonzo A. Hyde and his wife, Laura, ended when the station was fully automated.

The Manistee North Pierhead Light is the first lighthouse to mark the entrance to the Manistee River. The original lighthouse was in operation for one year before it was destroyed by fire in Oct. 1871.  The present cylindrical tower and attached elevated catwalk were placed on the pier in 1927.

The Muskegon South Pier Light is a grouping of actually three lights which mark the channel connecting Lake Michigan to Lake Muskegon. The oldest of the three is the 1903 tower, pictured below. The keeper’s dwelling associated with the lights was torn down in the early 1970s to make way for a new Coast Guard station.

Unfortunately, when we visited, the pier was under construction, so we couldn’t walk out to it. But I did get a few photos from the beach 🙂

The Grand Haven Lights sits off of the Grand Haven State Park and the inner light – which was originally built on the shore in 1839, then moved and rebuilt in 1905 – is a 51-foot-tall steel-sided near-cylindrical tower. It’s companion light is a square building that houses a fog horn.

The Ludington North Pierheard Light is a three-story pyramid-shaped tower at the edge of the pier in Ludington Harbor. Built in 1924, the steel tower has a unique profile that looks like it’s cutting through the water like the prow of a ship.  

The first lighthouse built at the location of the Holland Harbor Lighthouse was a small, square wooden structure erected in 1872.  It has a gabled roof that reflects the Dutch influence in the area. The lighthouse, referred to as “Big Red,” was automated in 1932.

In 1870 a channel was cut from Lake Michigan to White Lake. Mariners had a difficult time finding the White River Harbor so as part of the channel project a beacon was built at the
end of the short south pier to guard the channel – the White River Lighthouse. Captain William Robinson became the first keeper of the beacon light in 1872.


  1. I see a book in your future… 😉 Beautiful, of course.

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