Sturgeon Point Light


Sturgeon Point Light

Infobox_Lighthouse



caption = The light in winter.
location = Alcona County, Michigan
coordinates = coord|44|42|45.7|N|83|16|21.8|W
yearbuilt = 1869
yearlit = 1869
automated = 1939
yeardeactivated =
foundation = Limestone
construction = Brick
shape = Conical
marking = white with red trim
height = Tower - convert|71|ft|m [ [http://www.theenchantedforest.com/AlconaHistoricalSociety/ Alcona Historical Society/Sturgeon Point Light Station website] ]
elevation = Focal plane - convert|69|ft|m
lens = Sixth order Fresnel Lens
currentlens = 3.5 order Fresnel Lens
intensity =
range = convert|18|mi|km [ [http://www.michiganamericana.com/SturgeonPoint.htm Michigan Americana, Sturgeon Point Light.] ]
characteristic = flash every six seconds
admiralty =
NGA =
ARLHS = USA-943
USCG = 7-11345

Infobox nrhp
name = Sturgeon Point Light Station (U.S. COAST GUARD/GREAT LAKES)
nrhp_type =
architect=
designated =
refnum = 84001370
mpsub=U.S. Coast Guard Lighthouses and Light Stations on the Great Lakes TR
governing_body = U.S. Coast Guard and State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Sturgeon Point Light Station is a lighthouse on Lake Huron in Alcona County, northeastern lower Michigan. Established to ward mariners off a reef that extends 1.5 miles (2.4 km) lakeward from Sturgeon Point,cite web
last = Alcona Historical Society
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Sturgeon Point Lighthouse & Museum
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.theenchantedforest.com/AlconaHistoricalSociety/
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-03-31
] it is today regarded as a historic example of a Cape Cod style Great Lakes lighthouse. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/huron/sturgeon/index.htm Seeing the light, Terry Pepper on Sturgeon Point Light Station.] ]

The station

The light station was built in 1869 by the United States Lighthouse Board. The Board was in the midst of a lighthouse building boom on the Great Lakes due to increased maritime traffic, and in response to a large number of lost ships and men: Congress approved 70 lights on the western Great Lakes in thirty years: 28 in the 1850s, and 21 in each of the following decades. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/lights/lists/year-estab.htm Establishment years of western Great Lakes Lights, Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light,] ] [""See also" the chronology at "cite web|url=http://clarke.cmich.edu/lighthouses/index.htm |author= Wagner, John L. |title="Beacons Shining in the Night: The Lighthouses of Michigan" | publisher=Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University] The location is roughly halfway between Alpena's Thunder Bay Island and the northern entry to Saginaw Bay. Importantly, this point sits atop a formidable reef that is an imminent hazard to navigation. Moreover, the area north of Sturgeon Point and south of Alcona, Michigan is a bay that can provide shelter from northerly and southerly winds and waves. Historically, this area is locally known as "Sanctuary Bay." The Lighthouse Board further recognized that being able to navigate close to (but not over) the reef and the point would aid transport into and out of Saginaw Bay. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/huron/sturgeon/index.htm Seeing the light, Terry Pepper on Sturgeon Point Light Station.] ] It is made of brick masonry on a limestone foundation.cite web
last = National Park Service, Marine Heritage Program
first =
authorlink = National Park Service
coauthors =
title = Inventory of Historic Light Stations
work =
publisher =
date = 2005
url = http://www.cr.nps.gov/maritime/light/sturpt.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-03-31
] The tower stands 70 feet 9 inches (21.5 m) in height, with a diameter of 16 feet (4.9 m) at the base. The focal plane is listed by the Coast Guard at 69 feet, which would be the height from the "mean high water mark," That figure is important, in that it could be used by mariners to chart their location, using a method of triangulation. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/lights/lists/towers.htm List of heights (with sources) of western Great Lakes lights, Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light.] ] The adjoining, two-story Lighthouse keeper’s quarters was designed in the Cape Cod style and built of the same materials. At the time, the Board was often using this architectural motif. "See" Point Iroquois Light. In fact, Poverty Island Light, built in 1874, is considered to be a "sibling" as it is direct copy of Sturgeon Point. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/michigan/poverty/poverty.htm Poverty Island Light, Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light.] ] [ [http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/miup.htm Lighthouses of the Upper Peninsula, Poverty Island Light, University of North Carolina.] ]

The light began its service with a sixth-order Fresnel lens (pronounced [freɪ'nel] ) which was upgraded to a 3.5-order lens (that was originally installed at Oswego, New York), twenty years later. In 1876, the light station was joined in its service by an adjacent United States Life-Saving Service station. [ [http://www.theenchantedforest.com/AlconaHistoricalSociety/ Alcona Historical Society/Sturgeon Point Light Station website] ]

In 1875, a U.S. Life-Saving Service station was opened. The first light keeper became the first captain of the surf team. [ [http://lighthouse.boatnerd.com/gallery/Huron/sturgeonpoint.htm Wobser, David, Boatnerd.com Sturgeon Point Light.] ]

In 1915, this station became part of the U.S. Coast Guard.

In 1939 the U.S. Lighthouse Service also merged under the control of the U.S. Coast Guard. In the same year the station was electrified and automated. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/huron/sturgeon/index.htm Seeing the Light, Terry Pepper on Sturgeon Point Light Station.] ]

By the 1940s, the light was fully automated, and the Coast Guard withdrew all personnel in 1941 and thereafter dismantled the life-saving station. The lifesaving bell was purloined in 1941, and was "anonymously returned" in 2002 to the custody of the Alcona County Historical Society (according to a plaque at the light). The fog horn building was torn down. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/huron/sturgeon/index.htm Seeing the light, Terry Pepper on Sturgeon Point Light Station.] ] The brick outhouse, built in 1869, remains, however. [National Park Service, [http://www.nps.gov/history/maritime/light/sturpt.htm Inventory of historic light stations, Sturgeon Point.] [http://www.michiganlights.com/sturgeonpointlh.htm Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy on Sturgeon Point Light.] ]

The Life Saving station's foundation is still visible. [ [http://lighthouse.boatnerd.com/gallery/Huron/sturgeonpoint.htm Wobser, David, Boatnerd.com Sturgeon Point Light.] ] The lifesaving watch tower also was torn down. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/huron/sturgeon/sturgeon09.htm Photograph of life saving watch tower, Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light.] ]

The keeper's house itself fell into disrepair until it was taken over by the Alcona Historical Society in 1982.

The 3.5 Order Fresnel lens is still in place and in use. This is one of at least six Fresnel lens that remain in use on the Great Lakes. ["See," [http://www.nps.gov/history/maritime/nhl/grossept.htm National Park Service Maritime Light Inventory, Grosse Point Light study] which erroneously disregards Sturgeon Point and Bete Grise Light (which has its original lens), and proffers a count of "fourremaining lenses -- it lists them -- on the Great Lakes. However, if may be that the article is only intending to list lights that have "their original lens in situ", and by that definition, Sturgeon Point would not be on the list, as it has a replacement lens, the original having been replaced by a larger lens in 1889.]

Historic context

*At the time of the light station’s construction, the Alcona County region hosted an active commercial fishery. Northern Michigan was also in the midst of a timber boom, during which wood products were shipped to markets over Lake Huron from nearby ports at Harrisville, Alcona, and Black River. Despite the later addition of agricultural produce to the cargoes shipped by lake from the region, by the early 20th century the Sturgeon Point Light primarily served passing vessels engaged in the bulk mineral trade, which did not stop at nearby ports.
*Sturgeon Point is one of 149 lighthouses in Michigan. Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state. See Lighthouses in the United States.
*In the Big Blow of 1913, two of three ships that had the most crew lost, 28 victims each, were thereafter reported to have gone down in the area near Sturgeon Point. Those ships are the John A. McGean [ [http://www.pointeauxbarqueslighthouse.org/preserve/shipwrecks/mcgean.cfm Thumb Shipwreck Preserve, John A. McGean.] ] and the Isaac M. Scott. [ [http://www.nedivenews.com/?q=node/161 Northeast dive news, Isaac M. Scott.] ] See also, Shipwrecks of the 1913 Great Lakes storm and List of victims of the 1913 Great Lakes storm. However, the better evidence suggests that the McGean is in fact 9.5 miles due east of Harbor Beach, Michigan, which is on the east side of Michigan's Thumb. [ [http://www.lakeshoreguardian.com/_2003/122003/sunkenhistory.php The Lakeshore Guardian :: December 2003 :: Sunken History ] ] The Scott was first discovered in 1976, and is laying on the bottom about 7.5 miles northeast of Thunder Bay Island. [ [http://www.nedivenews.com/?q=node/161 Northeast dive news, Isaac M. Scott.] ]

Contemporary status

Ownership was transferred from the Coast Guard to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources under the terms of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, and operations are maintained by the Alcona Historical Society.

During the planning stages of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Sturgeon Point Light was proposed to mark the southernmost extent of the sanctuary,cite book
last = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
first =
authorlink = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
coauthors =
title = Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Final Environmental Impact Statement/Management Plan
publisher =
date = 1999
location =
pages =
url = http://thunderbay.noaa.gov/pdfs/ThunderBayEIS.pdf
doi =
id =
] although the final sanctuary boundary was drawn short of the light.cite web
last = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
first =
authorlink = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
coauthors =
title = About the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve
work = Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Official Site
publisher =
date =
url = http://thunderbay.noaa.gov/about_new.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-03-31
] Nevertheless, 15 historic shipwrecks have been identified with place of loss listed as "Sturgeon Point". Indeed, the question of expanding the National Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve continues to be a subject of inquiry and discussion. [ [http://www.legislative.noaa.gov/Testimony/Gray050608.pdf Testimony by Jefferson Gray, Superintendent of Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary concerning its expansion, May 6, 2008.] ]

Although the United States Coast Guard continues to operate the light, the property has been transferred to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources under the terms of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. The transfer from the Department of the interior was effective May, 2005. [ [http://www.doi.gov/news/050526.htm Department of Interior News Release.] ] The Alcona Historical Society operates a museum in the restored historic buildings. The Sturgeon Point Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.cite web
last = National Park Service
first =
authorlink = National Park Service
coauthors =
title = National Register Information System
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.cr.nps.gov/NR/research/nris.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-03-29
] Sturgeon Point, on which the lighthouse is built, is a Michigan Scenic Site overseen by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. cite web
last = Michigan Department of Natural Resources
first =
authorlink = Michigan Department of Natural Resources
coauthors =
title = Sturgeon Point Scenic Site
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/ParksandTrailsInfo.aspx?id=498
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-07-22
] It is listed as part of the National Maritime Heritage Program with the National Park Service. [ [http://www.nps.gov/history/maritime/ltaccess.html National Park Service Maritime Heritage Sites] ] The station structure is also listed as a state historic site in February 1982. [ [http://www.mcgi.state.mi.us/hso/sites/2354.htm Sturgeon Point Light Station] , Historic Sites Online, Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries]

Additionally, it is on the National Registry of Historic Places, Reference #84001370, Name of Listing: STURGEON POINT LIGHT STATION (U.S. COAST GUARD/GREAT LAKES TR) and is also on the state inventory, being listed in 1969. [ [http://www.nps.gov/history/maritime/light/sturpt.htm National Park Service, Inventory of historic light stations, Sturgeon Point.] ]

In 2006, the U.S. Coast Guard sought to forever darken the light, and in fact shut it off for a short time. Resistance to the initiative developed, and over five thousand signatures were collected on petitions to "Save Our Light." [ [http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/miel.htm The Lighthouse Directory Lighthouses of the Eastern Lower Peninsula, including Sturgeon Point.] ] Numerous public comments were submitted as part of the regulatory process. In due course, an arrangement was made whereby the light was left on (albeit with its operating expenses to be paid by the Alcona County Historical Society) and it was designated as an official "seasonal private aid to navigation." from April 1 through November 1. [ [http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/LNM/d9/lnm0901.pdf Department of Homeland Security announcement to mariners re Sturgeon Point light change in status, 01/07.] ] The Coast Guard reversed course after the public pressure, and the light will remain on. [ [http://www.lighthousedepot.com/lite_digest.asp?action=get_article&sk=02622&bhcd2=1211292732 Sturgeon Point to remain on, Lighthouse Depot.] ]

A transfer of ownership of the light itself, from the Coast Guard to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is pending in 2008 under the terms of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.

Because of its picturesque form and location, it is often the subject of photographs, paintings, [ [http://nickithompson.blogspot.com/2007/09/sturgeon-point-lighthouse.html Nicki Thompson, Painting of Sturgeon Point Light.] ] drawings, [ [http://home.rochester.rr.com/mjm/light2.html Mulgrew, Marilyn, Drawing of Sturgeon Point Light.] ] and even of needlepoint illustrations. [ [https://www.dataleap.com/secure/pin/orderpage.htm Needlepoint of Sturgeon Point Light.] ] In fact, it is also the setting of an illustrated children's storybook. [Briggs-Bunting, Jane, and Jon Buechel, llustrator. "Laddie of the Light". (Black River Trading Co., 1997). ISBN 9780964908314 ISBN 096490831X.]

The following contact information may be of use to travelers:Sturgeon Point Lighthouse & Maritime MuseumSturgeon Point RoadHarrisville, MI 48740(517) 724-5107 [ [http://www.theenchantedforest.com/AlconaHistoricalSociety/ Alcona Historical Society] ]

Events at the Lighthouse and Museum

* The lighthouse is maintained and operated by the Alcona Historical Society, a private organization that funds the maintenance and operation with few public funds. The Society is in the process of raising contributions to renovate and paint the lighthouse. [ [http://www.theenchantedforest.com/AlconaHistoricalSociety/ Alcona Historical Society] ]
* The tower is regularly open during the summer for climbing by the public (for a small fee to cover insurance costs). The museum is open to the public, and is supported by donations.
* On the grounds is the Old Bailey School, a 1907 One-room school house, which was moved there from Mikado, Michigan in 1998. [http://www.huronshoreschamber.com/attractions.htm Chamber of Commerce on Sturgeon Point and Old Bailey School.] ]
* A strawberry social is held at the at Bailey School on the last Sunday of June (adjacent to the lighthouse) which has as its purpose fund raising for the Alcona Historical Society.
* The annual Sturgeon Point Light Station Sanctuary Bay sail boat race, which also has a local picnic, is also a fundraiser for the Alcona County Historical Society. It is regularly held on the first Saturday in August, and is a handicapped race for day sailors of all classes. The course is two times around a triangular 6 mile (9.2 kilometer) course in Sanctuary Bay, the area between Sturgeon Point Light and Alcona.
* Michigan is the only state that supports lighthouse preservation with a program that includes annual grants from the state to local preservation groups. Consequently, there are many organizations and their volunteers working hard to save and restore lighthouses. Tthe Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy is a state preservation society, and the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association is based in the state. [ [http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/miwl.htm Lighthouse Digest, White Shoal Light, University of North Carolina.] ] The Alcona County Historical Society is in the process of collecting $70,000.00 for renovation (particularly brick work and painting) of its light, half of which is being funded by the state of Michigan. The White Shoal light is the prominent design element in the "Save Our Lights" license plate for the State of Michigan, sale of which helps fund lighthouse preservation. [ [http://www.michigan.gov/hal/0,1607,7-160-17449_18638_21818-114056--,00.html White Shoal Light on "Save Our Lights" license plate.] ]

Getting there

From Harrisville at the traffic light at Main Street M-72), proceed 2.6 miles north on US-23; turn right on Lakeshore Drive. Take Lakeshore Drive 1.2 miles; turn right on Point Road (there are signs that direct you to the lighthouse). Sturgeon Point Lighthouse is a mile down Point Road on the left.

From Alpena, take US-23, turn left onto Alcona Road, and follow it down the hill for 1.1 miles to Lakeshore Drive; turn right on Lakeshore Drive for 3.2 miles and turn left on Point Road. Sturgeon Point Lighthouse is a mile down on the left hand side.

The Lighthouse keeper's house is a maritime museum open to the public: Monday though Thursday from noon to 3 p.m.; and Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The tower is open from noon to 3 p.m., Friday through Sunday, during the same period. Grounds are open all year. Questions may be answered via telephone during operating hours at (989) 724-6297.

Grounds open year round. Dwelling/tower open in season, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

References

Bibliography and further reading

* Alcona Historical Society, "A Pictorial of Sturgeon Point". (1987).
* [http://www.clarke.cmich.edu/localhistory/Alcona.htm Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliography on Alcona County]
* [http://www.michiganlighthouse.org/bibliography.html Bibliography on Michigan lighthouses.]
* Crompton, Samuel Willard & Michael J. Rhein, "The Ultimate Book of Lighthouses" (2002) ISBN 1592231020; ISBN 978-1592231027.
* Hyde, Charles K., and Ann and John Mahan. "The Northern Lights: Lighthouses of the Upper Great Lakes." Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995. ISBN 0814325548 ISBN 9780814325544.
* Jones, Ray & Bruce Roberts, "American Lighthouses" (Globe Pequot, September 1, 1998, 1st Ed.) ISBN 0762703245; ISBN 978-0762703241.
* Jones, Ray,"The Lighthouse Encyclopedia, The Definitive Reference" (Globe Pequot, January 1, 2004, 1st ed.) ISBN 0762727357; ISBN 978-0762727353.
* Noble, Dennis, "Lighthouses & Keepers: U. S. Lighthouse Service and Its Legacy" (Annapolis: U. S. Naval Institute Press, 1997). ISBN 1557506388; ISBN 9781557506382.
* Oleszewski, Wes, "Great Lakes Lighthouses, American and Canadian: A Comprehensive Directory/Guide to Great Lakes Lighthouses", (Gwinn, Michigan: Avery Color Studios, Inc., 1998) ISBN 0-932212-98-0.
* Penrod, John, "Lighthouses of Michigan", (Berrien Center, Michigan: Penrod/Hiawatha, 1998) ISBN 9780942618785 ISBN 9781893624238.
* Penrose, Laurie and Bill, A" Traveler’s Guide to 116 Michigan Lighthouses" (Petoskey, Michigan: Friede Publications, 1999). ISBN 0923756035 ISBN 9780923756031
*
* Putnam, George R., "Lighthouses and Lightships of the United States", (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1933).
* Swenson, Helen. "Sturgeon Point Coast Guard Station." Central Michigan University Term Paper, Clarke Historical Library, 1967.
* United States Coast Guard, "Aids to Navigation", (Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1945).
* [http://www.uscg.mil/History/weblighthouses/h_lhbib.asp United States Coast Guard, "Aids to Navigation Historical Bibliography".]
*
* Wagner, John L., "Michigan Lighthouses: An Aerial Photographic Perspective", (East Lansing, Michigan: John L. Wagner, 1998) ISBN 1880311011 ISBN 9781880311011.
* Wargin, Ed, "Legends of Light: A Michigan Lighthouse Portfolio" (Ann Arbor Media Group, 2006). ISBN 9781587262517.
* Wright, Larry and Wright, Patricia, "Great Lakes Lighthouses Encyclopedia" Hardback (Erin: Boston Mills Press, 2006) ISBN 1550463993.

ee also

* Great Lakes Storm of 1913 and Shipwrecks of the 1913 Great Lakes storm and List of victims of the 1913 Great Lakes storm
* Lighthouses in the United States.

External links

* [http://marinas.com/view/lighthouse/329 Aerial photos, Sturgeon Point Light, marinas.com.]
* [http://www.theenchantedforest.com/AlconaHistoricalSociety/ Alcona Historical Society/Sturgeon Point Light Station website]
* [http://clarke.cmich.edu/localhistory/Alcona.htm Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliography for Alcona County.]
* [http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080520/SPECIAL01/80519001 Detroit News, Interactive map on Michigan lighthouses.]
* [http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=44.712769,-83.272837&spn=0.003934,0.006738&t=k&z=17&om=1 Google maps satelite view of Sturgeon Point Light.]
* [http://www.lighthousesrus.org/HuronW.htm Interactive map, list, information for lighthouses in North and West Lake Huron.]
* [http://www.lighthousesrus.org/Maps/GL/HuronW.htm Interactive map of lighthouses in area.]
* [http://www.lighthousecentral.com/lighthouse_gallery.php4?lighthouse=Sturgeon%20Point%20Lighthouse Lighthouse Central, Sturgeon Point light "The Ultimate Guide to East Michigan Lighthouses" by Jerry Roach] (Publisher: Bugs Publishing LLC - July 2006).] ISBN 0974797715; ISBN 9780974797717.
* [http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/miel.htm Lighthouse Digest, Sturgeon Point Light, University of North Carolina.]
* [http://www.michigan.gov/documents/hal_mhc_shpo_lightmap_50933_7.pdf Map of Michigan Lighthouse] in PDF Format.
* [http://www.michiganlights.com/sturgeonpointlh.htm Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy on Sturgeon Point Light.]
* National Park Service, [http://www.nps.gov/history/maritime/light/sturpt.htm Inventory of historic light stations, Sturgeon Point.]
* [http://www.michiganlighthouse.org/Lighthouses/lighthouse_detail.php111.htm Michigan lighthouse fund, Sturgeon Point]
* [http://haldigitalcollections.cdmhost.com/cdm4/results.php?CISOOP1=any&CISOBOX1=sturgeon&CISOFIELD1=CISOSEARCHALL&CISOROOT=all Pictures of Sturgeon Point Lighthouse, Archives of Michigan.]
* [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/huron/sturgeon/index.htm Seeing the Light, Terry Pepper on Sturgeon Point Light Station.]
* [http://www.thunderbay.noaa.gov/history/lighthouses.html#sturgeonpoint Thunderbay National Marine Sanctuary, Sturgeon Point Light.]
* United States Coast Guard [http://www.uscg.mil/history/weblighthouses/LHMI.asp 's complete list of Michigan lights.]
* [http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pubs/LightLists/V7COMPLETE.PDF Volume 7, US Coast Guard Lightlist (PDF).]
* [http://www.us-lighthouses.com/displaypage.php?LightID=241 U.S. Lighthouses, Sturgeon Point Light.]
* [http://lighthouse.boatnerd.com/gallery/Huron/sturgeonpoint.htm Wobser, David, Boatnerd.com Sturgeon Point Light.]


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