Marquette Harbor Lighthouse
In 2002 the Marquette Maritime Museum concluded an agreement with the U.S. Coast Guard for the lease of the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse. The historic lease is for 30-years and includes not only the lighthouse but also approximately 2 1/2 acres of picturesque Lighthouse Point
The agreement has been in process for several years and marks a crucial step in Museum development. Acquiring the lighthouse is important for a number of reasons.
The Museum will be able to preserve and protect the most historically important building in Marquette. The first lighthouse was built in the city in 1853. The present lighthouse was constructed in 1866 and a second story added in 1909. The lighthouse is the oldest significant structure in the city and more importantly, the lighthouse is one of the most historic navigation beacons on Lake Superior and critical to the development of the Great Lakes iron ore trade. Until the opening of the major Minnesota mines in the 1890s, Marquette was the premier shipping port for iron ore on the Great Lakes and this Marquette beacon was vital for the safe navigation of ships entering Marquette.
The Museum offers tours through the lighthouse and grounds. Because visitors must walk through the grounds of the Coast Guard station to reach the lighthouse, and the constraints of homeland security, Museum guides will escort all tours, a requirement established by the Coast Guard.
For more information contact:
Marquette Maritime Museum
300 Lake Shore Blvd.
Marquette, MI. 49855
Presque Isle Harbor Light
Located at the end of a rugged stone breakwater at Marquette’s Presque Isle Park is the red beacon that still guides ships day and night into the railroad ore docks. A monument near the breakwater carries the following message “The awesome beauty of Lake Superior’s waves have their dark and tragic side. The tremendous force of the waves and the frigid water can overpower even the strongest swimmers”.
To reach Presque Isle Park from the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, continue north on Lakeshore Blvd. for 2.8 miles. The road will become Peter White Drive as you enter the park, and the foot of the breakwater will be on your right.
The rock here was named for Captain Charles C. Stannard who spotted this more than mile-long dangerous reef in 1835. A day beacon was finally put here in 1868 when the Soo Locks opened, and construction on a permanent light began in 1877 was finished in 1882.
On shoal at end of reef, 45 mi. N. of Marquette, mid-lake Superior.
Big Bay Ponte Lighthouse
The Lighthouse stands on a rocky point halfway between Marquette and the Keweenaw Portage Entry. The establishment of a station at Big Bay Pointe was recommended to the Lighthouse Board in 1882. “The point occupies a position midway between Granite Island and Huron Islands, the distance in each case being 15 to 18 miles. These two lights are invisible from each other and the intervening stretch is unlighted. A light and fog signal would be a protection to steamers passing between these points. Quite a number of vessels have in past years been wrecked on Big Bay Point.” The lighthouse operates as a bed and breakfast.
Located roughly 30 miles north of Marquette and four miles east of Big Bay.
Granite Island Lighthouse
With the discovery of iron ore in the area around 1840, Marquette was fast becoming one of the busiest ports in the Upper Peninsula, and Granite Island’s location approximately twelve-and-a-half miles to the northeast, represented a major threat to vessels making passage to and from the harbor. On March 2, 1867, Congress appropriated $20,000 for construction of a lighthouse on the island. The lighthouse tender “Haze” delivered a construction crew and building supplies to the island in the spring of 1868, and the crew began construction with the blasting of a flat spot for the structure’s foundation at the island’s highest point.
Note: This is a privately owned island.
Located on Lake Superior’s Granite Island, 12.5 miles north of Marquette.
Huron Island Lighthouse
The Huron Island Lighthouse, built on West Huron Island in1868, is located three miles off of the Michigan coast in Lake Superior. The island is one of several that make up Huron National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 and is the oldest refuge in the Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region. This distinctive structure is built in the “schoolhouse” style with local granite quarried from the Huron Islands. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It offers excellent educational and heritage tourism opportunities and has drawn funding and support from the Lighthouse Preservation Association.
Located on Lighthouse Island, the westernmost of the Huron Islands. The islands make up the Huron Island National Wildlife Refuge and are located three miles off the south shore of Lake Superior and 18 miles east of the Keweenaw Peninsula.