Conservancy News
Lighthouse Design

Michigan's Light List

US Lighthouse Service

US Life Saving Service

Light Keeper's Tools

Fresnel Lenses

News & Events

Organization & Membership


Feedback form - Contact us

2000-2001 Archived News

2002 Archived News

2003-2004 Archived News

2005 Archived News

2006 Archived News

2007 Archived News

2008 Archived News

2009 Archived News



Updated September 16th, 2005

Visit with Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy at the festival

10th Annual

Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival

Alpena, MI.

October 6-9, 2005

There will be helicopter, bus, boat and plane tours throughout the weekend, area lighthouses will be open. Climb to the top of the tower and gaze across the lake. Visit with lighthouse groups from all over the Great Lakes and beyond. Lots of lighthouse exhibits, vendors, food, music, dancing and dinner.

Call 989-595-3632 for more information

Most events begin or take place at the Alpena Civic Center & Thunder Bay Recreation Center. All the booth displays will be at the Thunder Bay Center. Click below for the events calendar.

Lighthouses/museums in the area to visit:

40 Mile Point Lighthouse 989-734-4814

New Presque Isle Lighthouse 989-595-9917

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse 989-595-9917

Thunder Bay Island Boat Tour 989-354-9118

Middle Island Boat Tour  989-595-2821

Tawas Point Lighthouse 800-558-2927

Sturgeon Point Lighthouse & Museum 800-235-4625

Visit Historic Old Towne Alpena (2nd Ave & Chisholm)

Visit Jesse Besser Museum 989-356-2202

Please check out the festival web site at the following, it provides a lot of information on the events and activities in the area and local museums.

Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival Web Site


Updated August 9th, 2005

USLSSHA 10th Anniversary Conference

Protecting Historic Stations:  Strategies for the Next Decade

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

September 7 - 10, 2005

Munneke Room, Leelanau Historic Museum and Library, Leland, Michigan

Conference Goal:  Join us for the 10th anniversary meeting with a return to the first host site at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan.  The focus of this workshop will be on developing a working model to prevent additional station losses by using the membership in organizing and implementing a quick response plan for threatened stations.  The next ten years hold more difficult challenges as we see many more stations threatened by coastal development.  Mark your calendars and plan on attending this milestone conference on one of the most beautiful coasts in Northern Michigan.

Please register early to assist us in planning. Click here to go to the web site.


Updated July 28th, 2005


COPPER HARBOR, MI – This week the Federal Government transferred the deed for Gull Rock Lighthouse to the nonprofit community as part of a federal initiative designed to revitalize mothballed lighthouses. As of this month, the lighthouse will be jointly operated by two 501 (c) 3 Michigan nonprofits: the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy of Fenton and Gull Rock Lightkeepers of Copper Harbor. In recent decades the light station has fallen into a state of serious disrepair, and the two nonprofits will now start the long process of restoration. “It’s not going to be easy to bring Gull Rock back into its prime,” says Jeff Shook, president of the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy. “But our heart’s in the right place and with any luck we’ll be able to turn the corner on decades of deterioration out there.”

Gull Rock Lighthouse is a National Historic Landmark located on a small half-acre island 2 and 1/2 miles off the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior. It sits about a half-mile west of Manitou Island and about 15 miles east of Copper Harbor. The rock is exposed to the open waters of Lake Superior and rises just 12 feet above the surface of the lake. Historic lightkeeper log entries make it clear that during fierce storms large waves would wash over the rock, sometimes enveloping the lighthouse in water. “Since 1867 Gull Rock Lighthouse has been exposed to all the fury that Lake Superior has to offer and it’s taken its toll,” adds Peter Annin, executive director of Gull Rock Lightkeepers. “Our goal today is to start a new chapter in Gull Rock’s history.”

From the beginning, Gull Rock’s exposed location has created challenges. Back in 1867 the original foreman hired to build the lighthouse died on the job, but despite that setback the light was successfully completed later that year.  Since then the reefs and rocky shoals that surround Gull Rock have been the scene of several shipwrecks. The most famous wreck near Gull Rock was the 450-foot freighter L.C. Waldo, which ran aground on Nov. 8, 1913 near the lighthouse during a fierce storm packing 70 mph winds. But the waters in the vicinity of Gull Rock have been a threat to modern vessels as well. In December of 1989 the Coast Guard Cutter Mesquite ran aground near the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula while buoy tending.

Today the biggest problem facing the lighthouse is deterioration. The light was automated in 1913, and remains an active Aid to Navigation. But while the tower, lantern room and gallery remain in fairly good shape, the keeper’s quarters have fallen into a state of serious disrepair. A large hole remained in the roof of the lighthouse for years before being repaired by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1988. But years of exposure to moisture and rot caused much of the second floor to collapse down on the first floor, some of which, in turn, pancaked down into the basement. “On the inside it’s in very rough shape,” Shook says, “We certainly have our work cutout for us.” But during a visit to the property last summer, Ken Czapski, architectural division manager at U.P. Engineers and Architects out of Marquette, determined that while the lighthouse was in need of extensive restoration, the building itself was “structurally sound.”

The deed of the lighthouse was transferred under the auspices of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, which is an amendment to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The applicants were required to complete a long and arduous application process, making Gull Rock one of several Michigan lighthouses that have been transferred by the federal government in recent years. Because the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy and Gull Rock Lightkeepers are both nonprofit organizations, donations to either organization are tax deductible. Contributions on behalf of Gull Rock Lighthouse are now being accepted

With no docks on Gull Rock to accommodate medium or large vessels, the lighthouse is only accessible by small zodiac-style boats during calm seas. Despite its remote location, the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy and Gull Rock Lightkeepers remain committed to allowing public access to the property on a limited basis that is compatible with Gull Rock’s exposed location. “This is not the kind of lighthouse that kindergarten classes are ever going to be able to visit,” Annin says. “It may never be open to the public on a 9-to-5 basis. Nevertheless, we are committed to do what we can to make it accessible to the public on a safe and limited basis. ”

MLC and GRL are exploring a wide variety of visitation options. One idea is to hold regular V.I.P. raffles that would award people a personal, guided tour of the property, and also provide the building with some badly needed restoration funds. Another longer-term goal, after the building has been restored, is to create an artist-in-residence program like those offered at Isle Royale National Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The only difference would be that Gull Rock’s residency program would be open to writers, musicians, scientists and other practitioners of the humanities—in addition to artists. “But that all seems like a long way off at this stage,” Shook says. “We’ve got to get the place fixed up first.”

For more information and lighthouse photos contact Peter Annin at Gull Rock Lightkeepers (608) 278-8005 or Jeff Shook at the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy (810) 750-9236 .



Please view the Tawas page on this exciting news. You may find it by clicking here.



The Tawas Life Saving Station will be lost in the near future. The land developer has plans to tear the buildings down before the end of January 2005. Not receiving enough funding to move the buildings or dismantle them the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy will not be able to save the buildings. Private investors were also sought to purchase the property from the land developer but no agreements on a selling price could be reached.

In order to preserve the stations memory, MLC has hired UP Engineers & Architects out of Marquette Michigan to produce a complete a set of drawings for the buildings as they exist now. These copies will serve as one of the last reminders of the station. They will be kept in paper and electronic form for anyone wanting to view them in the future who researches the Tawas Station. Copies will also be offered to the National Archives and the State of Michigan Archives as well for preservation.

Unfortunately not enough time and money existed to save this station, but let it serve us as a reminder of how some people in our society let historic properties like this and some lighthouse meet the wrecking ball. Let us hope we learn our lessons so we may prevent this from happening in the future.



The Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy and Gull Rock Lightkeepers, both 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations in the State of Michigan, have submitted an application to acquire the Gull Rock Lighthouse located off the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan, near Copper Harbor. The Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy is dedicated to helping preserve and promoting the preservation of Michigan’s lighthouses and life saving stations, which are from the pre-Coast Guard era. Gull Rock Lighthkeepers is dedicated strictly to the preservation of the Gull Rock Lighthouse.

The Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy and Gull Rock Lightkeepers have joined together to help save the Gull Rock lighthouse. An application was submitted to the National Park Service (NPS) for their review. The lighthouse was applied for under the National Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 (NLHPA 2000). The application was submitted to the NPS back in September of 2004. NPS returned the application requiring some clarification in four areas. These questions have been answered and the application returned to NPS for final review just before the Christmas holiday in 2004. We are assuming about a three to four month time period of review for the application. No other applicants existed for to save this light station. If NPS approves the application, we expect it to be transferred to the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy and Gull Rock Lightkeepers sometime this summer.

Gull Rock Lightkeepers is a local organization and will be taking the lead role in the light station restoration. Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy will be helping the lightkeepers with restoration experience, resources and promoting public awareness of the station. Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy and Gull Rock Lightkeepers are actively seeking financial support for restoration of this light station. It is one of the worst damaged lighthouses in the Great Lakes and may be at the top of the list. Please send any financial contributions in as they all will help. Please mark funds “Gull Rock”.

You may reach either organization for questions or donations at the addresses below. Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, P.O. Box 973, Fenton, MI. 48430 or by telephone at (810) 750-9236.



Seventeen years after the publication of their first book "Living at a lighthouse," in 1987, the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association has published a second book of oral histories of USLHE and USCG keepers and their children titled "Reliving Lighthouse Memories." Profusely illustrated and edited by GLLKA Straits Coordinator Sandy Planisek, the 200-page book features fascinating and insightful stories in the words of those who lived the experiences. MLC highly recommends this book as a valuable tool for anyone interested in Great Lakes history. The book is very reasonably priced at only $13.95, with all proceeds going to help fund the association's restoration and education programs. To order a copy, contact the GLLKA office at (231) 436-5580.


If any lighthouse group has any special promotional events coming up please e-mail us and we will post them here.

Copyright © 2001-2010 Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06/15/11.