Little Traverse Lighthouse, Little Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, Harbor Point, near Harbor Springs, Emmet County, Michigan
LITTLE TRAVERSE (HARBOR POINT) LIGHT, MICHIGAN
NORTH SIDE OF LITTLE TRAVERSE BAY/LAKE MICHIGAN, NEAR HARBOR SPRINGS, MICHIGAN
Station Established: 1884
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1963
Foundation Materials: CUT STONE
Construction Materials: RED BRICK
Tower Shape: SQUARE
Markings/Pattern: NATURAL WITH BLACK LANTERN
Relationship to Other Structure: ATTACHED
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER FRESNEL
- In 1871, funds were requested for the building of a lighthouse on Harbor Point on Little Traverse Bay. However, Congress did not approve the request simply because they had no funds to offer. Another point of contention was most of the land in Harbor Point belonged to the native people.
- A treaty originally signed in 1855 was “modified” in 1875 to allow settlers to move into the area of Harbor Point. Lumber companies quickly moved in to harvest the nearby forests. Along with commerce, came recreation. Little Traverse Bay was known for its beauty and traffic on the bay quickly increased. The need for the lighthouse was once again put before Congress. This time the funds were secured.
- Construction began on the site in 1884. A one and a half story dwelling with a 10 foot square 40 foot tall tower attached was completed in September. A Fourth Order Fresnel lens was installed.
- Elizabeth Whitney Williams, one of the first female keepers on the Great Lakes, had accepted a transfer from St. James Harbor Lighthouse, and lit the beacon on September 25, 1884 which could be seen 13 miles away.
- A square pyramidal bell tower was added to the station in 1896 and stands in front of the tower. Other structures built at the site include a brick paint locker, a summer kitchen which is attached to the lighthouse by a covered portico, a wooden boat storage shed and a modern automobile garage.
- A new 41 foot skeletal tower was built in 1963 and the brick lighthouse was decommissioned. The property was sold to the Harbor Point Association which is the community where the property is located. This is a gated community with no public access to the lighthouse. It can be seen from the water. The new skeletal tower is still an active aid to navigation.
Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.