Light Hearted

Light Hearted ep 87 – Matt McMullen, Round Island Lighthouse, Michigan; Florida lighthouse history with Ralph Krugler

Round Island Lighthouse, in the Straits of Mackinac, is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Michigan. Thousands of people see it each year from the ferries that pass from Mackinac Island to Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. Round Island itself is about 378 acres and is uninhabited. It’s part of the Hiawatha National Forest. The lighthouse was constructed in 1895. It was decommissioned and abandoned in 1947. The abandoned lighthouse fell victim to the weather and vandals.

Round Island Lighthouse. U.S. Lighthouse Society photo.

The Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed in 2009 as a non-profit organization to aid the preservation and restoration efforts for the lighthouse. Today, the lighthouse is threatened by historically high water levels in the Mackinac Straits, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron converge, and there is a pressing need to install more protective rocks around the building.

Round Island Lighthouse in 1974, during its abandoned years. U.S. Lighthouse Society photo.
Matt McMullen

Matt McMullen first fell in love with Round Island Lighthouse when he did a Boy Scout work project 25 years ago. He has been working at the lighthouse each summer since 1996 and is now chairperson of the Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society.

Ralph Krugler

Ralph Krugler is the historian for the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society in Florida. He has spent several years researching the history of the light station, its keepers, and related subjects, and he’s put together an extensive book on the subject. He’s also on the board of directors of both the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society and the Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation. In this first installment of a series on Florida lighthouse history, he tells the story of  Judge B. Isler, one of Hillsboro Inlet’s most interesting keepers.

Note: My apologies to native Michiganders for mispronouncing “Mackinac” in this episode. I know now that Mackinac and Mackinaw are pronounced the same way — “Mack-i-naw.” Who woulda thunk it? – Jeremy D’Entremont

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