The year 2011 marked the 150th anniversary of the Whitefish Point Light Tower. This lighthouse has become one of Michigan’s icons, saving countless Lake Superior mariners with its powerful beacon. It is the big lake’s oldest operating lighthouse- in continuous official operation since 1861- and is still a major aid to navigation on the U.S. Coast Guard Light List.
The tower is called an “iron-pile” style due to its skeletal frame, using structural members that are solid iron piles and rods. Built during President Abraham Lincoln’s administration, it was constructed to assure safe transport of iron ore necessary for defense of the Union.
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society has just completed Phase 2 of a major three-phase restoration project of this historic lighthouse. Tower tours for a small fee are now available and all proceeds benefit ongoing restoration.