Beaver Island Head Light

The Beaver Head Light is located high on a bluff on the southern tip of Beaver Island. Boats trying to navigate North on Lake Michigan need to carefully work their way between Beaver Island and Gray's Reef.

Beaver Island Head Light
Beaver Island Head Light (waterside view)
LocationBeaver Island, Charlevoix County, Michigan
Coordinates45°34′35″N 85°34′21″W / 45.57639°N 85.57250°W / 45.57639; -85.57250Coordinates: 45°34′35″N 85°34′21″W / 45.57639°N 85.57250°W / 45.57639; -85.57250
Constructed1858 Edit this on Wikidata
Foundationreinforced concrete
Height46 feet (14 m)[1]
Shapecylindrical (attached Victorian lightkeeper house)[3]
Markingsyellow (natural) w/grey lantern and parapet, red roof
HeritageNational Register of Historic Places listed place, Michigan state historic site Edit this on Wikidata
First lit1858
Focal height103 feet (31 m)
Lens14 Lewis lamps and reflectors
Range16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)[2]
Beaver Island Light Station
LocationEast Side Drive
Peaine Township, Michigan
NRHP reference No.78001495[4]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 29, 1978
Designated MSHSApril 5, 1974[5]

The 46-foot (14 m) cylindrical tower was built in 1858, to replace an 1852 tower. The decagonal lantern room offers panoramic vistas of the Lake. The tower is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. though 9:00 p.m. during the summer.

In 1866, the attached yellow brick lighthouse keeper's dwelling was constructed. A frame addition was added to the keepers quarters to accommodate assistant keepers.[6]

In 1915, the 22-by-40-foot (6.7 m × 12.2 m) fog signal building was constructed. Other outbuildings on the grounds including an oil house, garage and storage building and outhouse.

A radio beacon was placed in 1962, at which time the station was decommissioned and declared surplus.[3] That same year, the original Fourth Order Fresnel lens was removed and placed in the dwelling, where it can still be seen.[6]

In 1975, the Charlevoix Public Schools purchased the site for $1.00. After some vandalism was incurred, in 1978 the District founded an alternative school for youth aged 16–21.[3] The school district has operated an Environmental and Vocational Educational Center in the keepers dwelling. Maintenance and restoration of the structure is part of the curriculum.[6] Beginning in 1978, recurrent summer work/study programs greatly restored the station, which was then opened as a school.[7]

In 2003, a grant was obtained to repair spalling of the exterior brick work on the fog signal building.[8] A state grant awarded two years later provided $23,000 for oil house restoration.[7]

The light station is listed on National Register of Historic Places (reference #78001495). It is also on the State List/Inventory.[3]


  1. ^ Terry Pepper, database on heights and focal planes.
  2. ^ After 1858 upgrade."Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Michigan". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01.
  3. ^ a b c d Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, Beaver Head Lighthouse.
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
  5. ^ State of Michigan (2009). "Beaver Island Light Station". Archived from the original on 2012-05-11. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Wobser, David, Beaver Head (Beaver Island) Light at
  7. ^ a b Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of the United States: Michigan's Western Lower Peninsula". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  8. ^ Terry Pepper. "Seeing the Light – Beaver Head Light". Archived from the original on 30 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-23.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

U.S. Coast Guard Archive Photo