Eagle River Lighthouse, Eagle River, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan
EAGLE RIVER LIGHT
EAGLE RIVER, LAKE SUPERIOR, EAGLE RIVER, MI
Station Established: 1854
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1857
Foundation Materials: CRIB (CONCRETE AND STEEL)
Construction Materials: STONE
Tower Shape: SQUARE W/CONICAL LANTERN
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: SIXTH ORDER, FRESNEL
- Eagle River became a bustling harbor after the discovery of the “Cliff Lode” of copper.
- Congress appropriated the $6500 to build the Eagle River Light Station in 1850. It took three years to get a clear title to the land and the lighthouse wasn’t complete until 1857.
- The District Inspector refused to accept the light station when it was first complete, citing the station was not built “in conformity to the terms of the contract”. The actual discrepancies were not documented but changes were made and the District Inspector accepted the light after a second inspection.
- The brick station had a one and half story yellow keeper’s house with a twelve foot tower in the northeast corner. It was fitted with a sixth order Fresnel lens.
- By 1867 large cracks formed in the base of the tower. The funds to build a replacement were appropriated but later withdrawn. Repeated requests were made for the funds but only patch and repair work was completed. In 1884 the repair work was finally done and the station was once again in good working order.
- Eagle River was the only lighthouse between the Keweenaw Waterway and Eagle Harbor. When the copper boom ended in the 1870’s the Eagle River harbor started to decay. By the 1890’s, it seemed the only ship coming into the harbor was the lighthouse service tender. It was recommended to build a new lighthouse at Sand Hills where most of the lake traffic was traveling and to decommission Eagle River.
- The light station was decommissioned in 1908 and sold at a public auction in August of that year. The light station remains in private hands.
Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.