Pointe aux Barques Light, Lake Huron, Port Hope, Michigan
Built in 1848.
POINTE AUX BARQUES LIGHT
POINT AUX BARQUES REEF, LAKE HURON, MICHIGAN
Station Established: 1848
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1857
Foundation Materials: DRESSED STONE/TIMBER
Construction Materials: BRICK
Tower Shape: CONICAL
Markings/Pattern: WHITE WITH BLACK AND RED TRIM
Relationship to Other Structure: ATTACHED
Original Lens: THIRD ORDER FRESNEL
Pointe Aux Barques means “point of little boats”. Construction began on the Pointe Aux Barques light station in 1847. The tower was lit in 1848. There is no definitive record of the original tower or keeper’s dwelling. It is thought the station would have been similar to others lighting the Great Lakes at the time, perhaps a short tower with a small keeper’s quarters made of stone from the nearby shoreline.
In 1857 the station had to be rebuilt as the existing tower was no longer felt to be an effective aid to navigation. The new tower stood 89 feet tall and is one of the tallest in the Great Lakes. A two story keeper’s dwelling was attached via a covered passageway. A third order Fresnel lens was fitted and visible 16 miles at sea. In 1908 an assistant keeper’s dwelling was built at the site. An upgraded incandescent lamp replaced the third order lens and was visible 18 miles at sea.
The light was automated in 1958 and the grounds were sold to Huron County. The county opened the grounds as a park and two museums are housed in the keeper’s quarters, The Keepers of the Light and The Thumb Underwater Preserve. The light remains an active aid to navigation.
Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.