Point Betsie Light Station is on the northeast side of Lake Michigan, north of the city of Frankfort. The lighthouse, built of cream city brick from Milwaukee, began service in 1858. The station was greatly enlarged in 1894 to about triple its original size. Point Betsie and Sherwood Point became the last light stations on Lake Michigan to be fully automated and de-staffed in 1983. In 2004, ownership of the property was transferred to Benzie County. Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse has cared for the property under a partnership agreement.
In addition to a small number of paid staff, Point Betsie Lighthouse has around twenty-five volunteers working as tour guides and in the gift shop, making it possible for the station to be open to the public for an extensive schedule from late May to late October. Visitors get to climb the tower for a view of the Lake Michigan shoreline. Chuck Clarke is the treasurer on the board of directors of the Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse, and he has been involved with the lighthouse since before the Friends group was founded.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org