3 historic Michigan lighthouses awarded grants to aid restoration

More than $126K to fund exterior, interior repairs of historic structures

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse near Port Huron (Michigan Economic Development Corporation)

Three Michigan lighthouses are being awarded grants to help repair and preserve their historic structures.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced Friday that three historic lighthouses across the state have been selected to split more than $126,000 in grants from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program operated by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office.

The most funds -- $60,000 -- will go toward exterior renovations of the Crisp Point Lighthouse (pictured below), managed by the Crisp Point Light Historical Society, which is near Newberry.

Historic Crisp Point Lighthouse near Newberry, Michigan. Photo provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. (Michigan Economic Development Corporation)

A total of $50,000 will go toward renovating the watch deck of the North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse near Leland Township. Known as “the crib,” the lighthouse (pictured below) is managed by the North Manitou Light Keepers.

The historic North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse near Leland Township, Michigan. Photo taken by David McWilliam and provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. (North Manitou Light Keepers)

More than $16,000 will go toward interior and exterior restorative work to the watch and lantern rooms of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse near Port Huron -- Michigan’s oldest lighthouse. The historic structure (pictured at the top of the article) is managed by the St. Clair County Parks and Recreation department.

“Dozens of lighthouses stand sentinel along Michigan’s shorelines and represent an important piece of Michigan’s maritime history. And with the summer travel season fast approaching, lighthouses offer a unique opportunity for tourists to discover and explore off-the-beaten-path destinations,” said Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Martha MacFarlane-Faes. “Through our lighthouse preservation program, we can help restore these beacons, preserving their beauty and keeping them shining bright for years to come.”

The three groups receiving the grants will all match at least half of their awarded grant amount, or more, to help fund the restorative projects.

Michigan has the most lighthouses -- more than 120 -- than any other state in the U.S. Some are still active, but most all of them are prominent tourist attractions in the state.

“Michigan’s iconic lighthouses offer something for every traveler -- from lighthouse enthusiasts, to history buffs, to curious tourists looking to get out there and experience one of Pure Michigan’s hidden gems,” said Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan. “Programs like the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program are extremely important in supporting our tourism efforts across the state, and we’re pleased that these three one-of-a-kind coastal treasures will soon be restored for all to enjoy.”

Last year, the Michigan DNR released a new map tool that helps you locate shipwrecks, along with lighthouses and boat access points, in the Great Lakes. Click here to check it out.

You can also learn more about Michigan’s lighthouses on the Pure Michigan website here.

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About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.