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Mason County Memories

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Michigan Lighthouses History Column 248 Dave Petersen This week we'll take a look around at some of the other lighthouses in Western Michigan. All six of the images today were taken by Erhardt Peters around 1930 to 1935 and include the North Manitou Lighthouse which has been gone from the landscape for many years. If you have photographs or stories that you would like to share with our readers please contact me at 757-3240, davep@blackcreekpess.com or mail in care of the Ludington Daily News PO Box 340 Ludington Mi. 49431. Pic1 The North Manitou Island Lighthouse was originally going to be of a cylindrical iron tower design. That plan was scrapped in 1897 and the construction of a timber pyramidal tower was begun in 1898 and on September 15th the light shone for the first time. The site at what locals referred to as Dimmick's Point fought the effects of erosion by the waves for years. The Light was discontinued in 1935 and by the fall of 1942 the Lighthouse crashed into Lake Michigan. Pic2 Cats Head Point Lighthouse is located at the entrance to Grand Traverse Bay at the Lelanau State Park. This structure was built in 1858 and replaced the original tower that had been constructed in 1853. Pic3 The North Manitou Crib was completed in 1935 and it replaced the Manitou Lightship that had been anchored at that location. The Lightship is currently named the Huron and has been turned into a museum ship. The completion of the crib signaled the end of both the Lightship which had been an important part of the local maritime history and the lighthouse at North Manitou Island. Pic4 Little Sable Lighthouse was constructed in 1873 and opened for the 1874 season. The original structure of red brick was difficult to see and after receiving numerous complaints the decision was made to paint it white in 1900. Originally there was no road to service this lighthouse with supplies being brought in by boat. Today only the tower remains, the outbuildings were demolished in 1955 after the lighthouse was automated. Pic5 The Charlevoix Lighthouse was originally built in 1885 and consisted of a wooden pyramidal tower much like the first tower that was built on the Buttersville side of the channel at Ludington. In 1948 however a new steel tower was built that was open on the bottom. This lighthouse is currently active. Pic6 The Fresnel lens from the North Manitou Lighthouse is pictured here, it is described as a fourth order six panel lens. Erhardt spent many hours on North Manitou Island to take pictures of the lighthouse and coast guard crews that were serving there. His father John Peters was chief Engineer on the Manitou Lightship which most likely afforded Erhardt the opportunity to access non public areas. This image is of the lens circa 1930 while it was installed in the lighthouse.

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