Open Mid-May to Mid-September 22
Visitors and workers at the lighthouse complex have reported strange happenings, including moved silverware and other items, footsteps, the strong smell of cigars and the sound of someone climbing the lighthouse steps. Many believe that a lighthouse keeper is still at work.
Seul Choix (pronounced Sis-shwa) Point Light marks a small harbor on Lake Michigan located on the south shore of the Upper Peninsula. Some sixty miles west of the Straits, the name means "only choice".
Native Americans and French fur traders traveled in canoes across the rough waters of Lake Michigan. It was named by the French who found that it was the only harbor of refuge in this part of Lake Michigan. If boats were headed for the Straits of Mackinac, the only choice for safety was Seul Choix.
During the mid-1800's Seul Choix Point was the center of a thriving fishing community, but today, only the lighthouse complex is still active. The light still operates, but with an automated replacement for its original lens. The light was placed into service in 1892, but the tower had to be rebuilt and the station was not entirely completed until September, 1895.
The conical brick light tower rests on an ashlar foundation 12 feet high, with 5 feet below grade, and has a diameter of 18 feet at the base of the brickwork, and 12 feet, 8 inches at the parapet and is open for climbing. The tower is surmounted by a 10-sided cast iron lantern that originally held a Third Order Fresnel lens manufactured by Le Paute of Paris. The lantern is now fitted with a modern airport beacon lens.
Overall, the tower is 78 feet, 9 inches tall, measured to the top of the ventilator ball, producing a lens focal plane 80 feet above the mean low water level of Lake Michigan. The lighthouse exhibited a fixed red light, varied by a red flash every fifteen seconds, and its beacon was visible for thirteen miles. The station, also operated a fog signal which was a 10-inch steam whistle.
The two-story house-easily large enough to accommodate two families-is finished in red brick, including several rooms that have been added on to the original structure. Matching brick archways support the roof of a porch that is deeply recessed into the front of the house. White trim around the windows and eaves contrasts with the deep color of the bricks. Attached to the house by a small, enclosed corridor of red brick is the lighthouse tower. The interior of the living quarters has been completely restored and decorated as they would have appeared in the 1900's-1930's.
The lighthouse grounds are well maintained, with long expanses of grass stretching out to meet the neatly trimmed cedars and pines that dot the lawn. An old wood dryer for fish nets has retired to near the house. All of the original outbuildings are also still standing, including explosives storehouses and a fog signal building, which now houses a gift shop and museum.
The museum is currently open from Memorial Day through mid October, seven days a week, from 10 am to 6 pm. There are fascinating items in the museum, including a well preserved dugout canoe, one of the rarest finds to be uncovered in the midwest.
Nearby are large picnic areas, restrooms and barbecue pits. A short trail leads to the shore, and after you walk it, you'll quickly understand the need for this lighthouse. A huge limestone shoal reaches out from beneath your feet and cuts through the clear water to almost 100 yards from shore. There, waves are breaking, their white foam outlining the shallowest parts of the reef. The shoal plus the land mass of the point itself, which slopes down into the waters of Lake Michigan for nearly three miles, adds up to a very dangerous area for navigators.
The Seul Choix Point Lighthouse is a Michigan Historic Site and a Michigan Historic Site National Historic Landmark. It is operated by the Gulliver Historical Society in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources.
For more information, write the Gulliver Historical Society, 1906W County Road 432, Gulliver, MI 49840. Phone: 906-283-3317.
To help continue the Historic Preservation of the Seul Choix Light Station we have "Adopt a Brick" for $35 and "Adopt a Step" for $1,000. Have your name permanently engraved on a brass plate displayed in the Lighthouse. A wonderful gift for a lighthouse lover or as a memorial.
For information contact Marilyn at 906-283-3317 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Directions: From the junction of US-2 and County Rd. 432 in Gulliver, about 11 miles east of Manistique, go south on CR-432 (Point Inland Rd ) about 4 miles to County Rd. 431. Turn right (west) onto CR-431, which is a gravel road, and go approximately 4 miles to the lighthouse. Approximately 50 miles southwest of Curtis, Michigan.
Seul Choix Point Lighthouse, Gift Shop, and Museum are open from Memorial Day
Weekend until mid-September.
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