There are two interviews related to Michigan lighthouses in this episode, plus a special “Be a Lighthouse” segment for Father’s Day, with co-host Sarah MacHugh interviewing her father about his company, Adaptive Design Hudson River.
The Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron and also mark the dividing line between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas, were treacherous for mariners. The first lighthouse in the area was established in 1829. Mackinac Point, at the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, was given a fog signal in 1890. A 50-foot-tall lighthouse was added to the station in 1892, built of cream city brick and attached to the keepers’ house.
The construction of the Mackinac Bridge in 1957 rendered the lighthouse obsolete. The lighthouse property was purchased by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission in 1960, and it was incorporated into a state park. Today, the light station is open to the public from late spring to fall, with a maritime museum in the keepers’ house. Craig Wilson is the chief curator for Mackinac State Historic Parks.
Eagle Harbor Light is one of several light stations that guide mariners on Lake Superior across the northern edge of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The original lighthouse, built in 1851, was replaced in 1871 by the present red brick structure. In 1999, Congress transferred ownership of the Eagle Harbor Light Station to the Keweenaw County Historical Society. The U.S. Coast Guard continues to operate the light at the top of the tower as an active navigational aid.
Karen Hintz is the vice president of the Keweenaw County Historical Society.
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