Saginaw River Rear Range Light

Oct. 15, 2019

Saginaw River Rear Range Light, Bangor Township, Michigan

Saginaw River Light was originally constructed from 1839 to 1941 and operated through the 1870s.  The river was dredged in 1867 and the light was replaced by a pair of range lights, including the rear range light, in 1876.  Deactivated in the 1970s.


Location: Bangor Township, Michigan (Mackinac Straits approach/Lake Michigan)
Station Established: 1831
Year Current Tower First Lit:1876
Operational: No
Automated: 1954
Deactivated: early 1962
Foundation Materials: Reinforced concrete
Construction Materials: Brick
Tower Shape: Cylindrical
Height: 53’
Markings/Pattern: Yellow
Relationship to Other Structure: Attached
Original Lens: Fourth Order Fresnel
Height of Focal Plane: 103
Appropriation: $23,000

Historical Information:

1831: First light at Saginaw River was built south of the mouth of the river. A lighthouse was needed due to increase in vessels traveling through the river for lumber export.
1876: New lighthouse was built in a range light configuration.
1970s: Remained an active guide until the Coast Guard Station moved across the river due to needing more space.
1986: Dow Chemical, who owned the surrounding land, purchased the facility and boarded it up. Although it is not well documented, it is believed that the Saginaw River Light was the first location to install range lights.

Researched and written by Jamie Smith, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.