South Manitou Island Lighthouse

Manitou Island, Michigan - 1872 (1839**)

Photo of the South Manitou Island Lighthouse.

History of the South Manitou Island Lighthouse

Dennis, the contributor of this picture, has also provided some history behind this light:

Here are two more Michigan lighthouses for you. These are both in the lower peninsula. They mark the "Manitou Passage". South Manitou Island is 220 miles from Chicago and was the only deep harbor and well protected for waiting out a storm. Lumbering operations started up to provide fuel for the steamers. The first light was built here in 1840 on top of a wooden house. This was replaced with a 30 foot tower on a two story brick house in 1858. It had a Fourth Order Fresnel lens. A fog signal building was added. The current 100 foot tower was built in 1871. It was an upgrade with a Third Order Fresnel lens. The three wick lamp had a range of 18 miles. The first steam power fog signal on Lake Michigan was installed in the fog signal building here in 1875. The Coast Guard abandoned the light station in 1958. Tours take the curious into the tower during the summer months. The National Park Service has ownership of the 150 year old station since it is now part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. One of the 17 keepers and 32 assistant keepers was Alan Kent. I wonder if he is a relation? - Dennis

Directions: Directions: The lighthouse sits off shore on southeast side of South Manitou Island, so the best way to view it is by boat. The Manitou Island Transit offers a ferry service to both North and South Manitou Islands.

View more South Manitou Island Lighthouse pictures
Tower Information
Tower Height: 104.00'
Focal Plane: 100'
Active Aid to Navigation: Deactivated (1958)
*Latitude: 45.00800 N
*Longitude: -86.09400 W
See this lighthouse on Google Maps.


* Please note that all GPS coordinates are approximated and are meant to put you in the vicinity of the lighthouse, not for navigation purposes.

** This year denotes a station date. This is the year that a lighthouse was first reported in the vicinity or at that location.

All photographs and information on this site is copyright © 2016 Bryan Penberthy unless otherwise specified. No content may be used without written permission. Any questions or comments, please email me.