Point Betsie Light

Point Betsie Light


caption = Point Betsie Lighthouse
location = North of Frankfort, Michigan
coordinates = coord|44.6913|-86.2552|
yearbuilt = 1859
yearlit = 1859
automated = April 1983
yeardeactivated =
foundation = Concrete
construction = Cream City Brick
marking = White tower/Red roof
shape = Cylindrical
height = Tower - convert|37|ft|m
elevation = Focal plane - convert|52|ft|m
lens = 4th order Fresnel Lens
currentlens = Vega VRB-25 250 mm acrylic optic
intensity =
range = convert|27.5|mi|km
characteristic =
admiralty =
The Point Betsie lighthouse is located on the northeast shore of Lake Michigan -- at the southern entrance to the Manitou Passage -- north of Frankfort in Benzie County in Northern Michigan. Construction began in 1858, but it was not completed until 1858, and began service in the shipping season of 1859. The lighthouse cost $5000 to build. In 1875, a life saving station was built for $3000. [ [http://www.pointbetsie.org/ Friends of the Point Betsie Light.] ]

The light was originally equipped with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens (pronounced [freɪ'nel] ) with bullseye, which was upgraded to a Third order (with bullseye) in 1880. The latter was visible for 27.5 miles, because of the high placement of the tower (focal plane of 52.5 feet) and the efficacy of the lens design. [See [http://www.terrypepper.com/lights/closeups/illumination/fresnel/3order.htm Third Order Fresnel lens, Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light.] ] The Fresnel Lens was removed in 1996, and there are plans to display it [ [http://www.nps.gov/history/maritime/light/ptbetsie.htm National Park Service, Inventory of historic light stations, Point Betsie.] ] at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. [ [http://www.sleepingbeardunes.com/ Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore Visitors Bureau.] ] .

The cylindrical tower is 39 feet tall, but sits on a dune. It is attached to the Lighthouse keepers house, which was upgraded to an attractive gambrel roof design. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/michigan/betsie/betsie.htm Seeing the Light, Terry Pepper on Point Betsie Light] ]

This was one of the earliest Life Saving Station, and was run under the auspices of the U.S. Life-Saving Service. In 1910 the United States Lighthouse Board was reconstituted as the U.S. Lighthouse Service. In 1939 these agencies were merged under the control of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Prior to being automated in 1983, the 'wickies' operated the light for 106 years. [ [http://www.pointbetsie.org/ Friends of the Point Betsie Light.] ] This was the last manned lighthouse on Lake Michigan. [ [http://lighthouse.boatnerd.com/gallery/Michigan/PtBetsie.htm Wobser, David, Point Betsie Light at Boatnerd.com.] ] The light is now a Vega VRB-25 250 mm acrylic optic. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/michigan/betsie/betsie.htm Seeing the Light, Terry Pepper on Point Betsie Light.] ] The new optic would be visible for a range of 15 to 22 miles, depending on the bulb used. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/closeups/illumination/acrylic/VRB-25/index.htm Vega VRB-25 250 mm acrylic optic, Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light.] ]

In addition to the lighttower, keepers house, and lifesaving station, the site presently includes a fog signal building and an oil house. [ [http://lighthouse.boatnerd.com/gallery/Michigan/PtBetsie.htm Wobser, David, Point Betsie Light at Boatnerd.com.] ]

Fog signals have received much attention at Point Betsie. In the autumn of 1912, the fog signal buiidlng was rebuilt. The 10-inch locomotive whistles were replaced by 10-inch chime whistles. Meanwhile, the lamp was upgraded to an incandescent oil vapor system, with an intensity of 55,000 candlepower. In 1921, upon being connected to the electrical power grid, aa 110-volt electric bulb was installed, and the fog signal upgraded to twin Type "G" diaphones, driven by electric air compressors. The diaphone doubled the audible radius, and had the added benefit that it could be brought on line immediately, without waiting fgor steam engines to build presser. The following April the fog signal's characteristic was changed to a group of two blasts every 30 seconds. [ [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/michigan/betsie/betsie.htm Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light on Point Betsie Light.] ]

The light is located on Point Betsie, Michigan, which in turn is part of a recognized terrestrial marine near shore ecosystem, dominated by a coastal dune with unique flora and fauna, including Pitcher's Thistle, Lake Huron Locust, and fascicled broomrape. [ [http://www.scribd.com/doc/1647609/Environmental-Protection-Agency-Land-by-the-Lakes-Nearshore-Terrestrial-Ecosystems Reid, Ron & Holland, Karen, Environmental Protection Agency.] ]

ign Posted by Lighthouse

Point Betsie Light & Coast Guard Family Housing

Welcome to Point Betsie Lighthouse. The lighthouse, formerly the Point Betsie Lifesaving Station, was built in 1876. It began operation on April 23, 1877, and was manned and maintained by the U.S. Lighthouse Service. On July 1, 1939 the lighthouse service was merged with the U.S. Coast Guard. The lighthouse, manned for over 106 years was automated in April 1983. The light is 52 feet above lake level and has a range of 27.5 miles. The house was converted to apartments and now serves as housing for families of personnel assigned to Coast Guard station, Frankfort.

Current status

The station was transferred to Benzie County under the terms of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act in 2004.

It has been repainted to its original color scheme, which had not been seen since the 1940s. The "Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse" have undertaken a complete restoration of the station. [ [http://www.pointbetsie.org/ Friends of the Point Betsie Light.] ]

The organization is celebrating the lighthouse's sesquicentenial in 2008. This 150th anniversary celebration will include many events. A calendar is available. [ [http://www.pointbetsie.org/ Friends of the Point Betsie Light.] ]

Point Betsie is said to be one of America's most photographed lighthouses, and the most-visited attraction in Benzie County. [ [http://www.michiganlighthouse.org/bibliography.html Bibliography on Michigan lighthouses.] ] Because of its picturesque form and location, it is often the subject of photographs and drawings. [ [http://home.rochester.rr.com/mjm/light2.html Mulgrew, Marilyn, Drawing of Point Betsie Light.] ] Even needlepoint illustrations have been rendered. [ [https://www.dataleap.com/secure/pin/orderpage.htm Needlepoint of Point Betsie Light.] ]

It is listed on the National Register of Historical Places, Reference #84001375. [ [http://www.pointbetsie.org/lighthouse.html Point Betsie lighthouse facts, Friends of Point Betsie.] ]

Additional reading

* [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.
* Hawley, Jonathon P., "Point Betsie: Lightkeeping and Lifesaving on Northeastern Lake Michigan" 264 p., 61 B&W photos (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press 2008) ISBN 9780472033188. [ [http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=349781 University of Michigan Press.] ]
* 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.
* Putnam, George R., "Lighthouses and Lightships of the United States", (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1933).
* 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

*Lighthouses in the United States

External links

* [http://clarke.cmich.edu/localhistory/Benzie.htm Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliography for Benzie County.]
* [http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080520/SPECIAL01/80519001 Detroit News, Interactive map on Michigan lighthouses.]
* [http://www.pointbetsie.org/ Friends of the Point Betsie Light.]
* [http://www.lighthousesrus.org/Maps/GL/MichiganNorth.htm Interactive map of lighthouses in area of Lake Michigan.]
* [http://lighthousesrus.org/MichiganNorth.htm Interactive map/list/information of lighthouses in northeastern Lake Michigan] by LighthousesRus
* [http://www.lighthousecentral.com/lighthouse_gallery.php4?lighthouse=Point%20Betsie%20Lighthouse Lighthouse Central, Photographs, History, Directions and Way points for Point Betsie Light, "The Ultimate Guide to West Michigan Lighthouses" by Jerry Roach (Publisher: Bugs Publishing LLC - 2005).] ISBN 0-9747977-0-7.
* [http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/miwl.htm Lighthouse Digest, Western Michigan lights, Point Betsie 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.michiganlighthouse.org/Lighthouses/lighthouse_detail.php75.htm Michigan lighthouse fund, Point Betsie Light.]
* National Park Service [http://www.nps.gov/history/maritime/light/ptbetsie.htm , Inventory of historic light stations, Point Betsie.]
* [http://www.lifeonthe45th.com/ Photographs of Point Betsie Light.]
* [http://www.pointbetsie.org/chronology.html Summary chronology of Point Betsie light.]
* [http://www.terrypepper.com/Lights/michigan/betsie/betsie.htm Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light on Point Betsie Light.]
* U.S. Coast Guard [http://www.uscg.mil/history/weblighthouses/LHMI.asp 's complete list of Michigan lights with photographs and descriptions, including Point Betsie Light.]
* [http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pubs/LightLists/V7COMPLETE.PDF Volume 7, United States Coast Guard Lightlist] in PDF Format.
* [http://lighthouse.boatnerd.com/gallery/Michigan/PtBetsie.htm Wobser, David, Point Betsie Light at Boatnerd.com.]

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