The lighthouse is open to the public from Memorial Day Weekend through Sept.1 (9-5 EST) and during the month of September (1-4 EST)
The Sand Point Lighthouse is located in Ludington Park at Escanaba, on the northeast shore of Lake Michigan, serving mariners continuously from 1868 until 1939.
When this lighthouse was built in 1867 it was at the waters edge and warned the ships off Sand Point and the sand reef which reached out into Little Bay De Noc. The attached brick tower was topped by a cast iron lantern room which housed a fourth order Fresnel lens. The light, a fixed red signal, first shown on the night of May 13, 1868.
Escanaba was a busy harbor and many ships, first schooners and later steamers and whalebacks, carried iron ore out from the several ore docks, and lumber from sawmills. Passengers also arrived at Escanaba by boat from the south
Nine keepers and their families lived in the Sand Point Lighthouse and kept the light burning in its tower and shining out over the Bay until 1939 when the United States Coast Guard took over all navigational lights in the country from the National Lighthouse Service. The harbor had been drastically changed at this time by dredging and filling and the sand point and reef hazard were now part of the park which left the lighthouse some distance from the water. The Coast Guard found it necessary to construct a crib light several hundred feet offshore. This crib light is still in use today, and may be seen from the windows of the old Sand Point Lighthouse.
A copy of the original 1867 plan of the building still existed in the Archives and work began to restore the lighthouse to its original appearance. This was a monumental task as the building had undergone many alterations. Using these old blueprints as a guide, they lowered the roof back to its original level, added a missing 10 feet to the top of the adjoining brick tower and blocked in windows that had not been part of the original lighthouse. Then they set to work on repairs and restoring the interior. They were even able to find a duplicate cast iron lantern room on the ground at Poverty Island and a fourth order Fresnel lens in Menominee to complete the restoration.
The interior rooms have been restored as authentically as possible with 19th century furnishings so you can get the feeling of life as a Keeper of the Light. If you want to know more about Sand Point Lighthouse, one of the rooms contains photographs, books, interesting newspaper articles, and other memorabilia. Books about lighthouses are also available for purchase at the Lighthouse.
Mary Terry, the keeper of the light for 18 years, was one of the first women lighthouse keepers on the Great Lakes. Her husband, John, was appointed the first keeper but he died of consumption while the lighthouse was under construction, and Mary was officially appointed in 1868. An article in the Escanaba newspaper IRON PORT reported that "she was a very methodical woman, very careful in the discharge of her duties and very particular in the care of the property under her charge".
There is a US Coast Guard Museum right behind the Lighthouse containing many interesting artifacts including a photo of the steamer Nahant and a life ring from the USCG Cutter Escanaba.
Between Christmas and New Years Eve
Phone 906-786-3763 for information
1:00 until 4:00 pm EST each day
Carols, Cookies, and Cheers! Shared History and Friendships!
Music will be furnished by local musicians, the tree will be decorated, and cookies and hot cider will be served in the Lighthouse kitchen next to the cast iron cook stove.
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