Presque Isle Lighthouse Park of Presque Isle County, Michigan
1 mile long.
The New Presque Isle Light was built in 1870, at Presque Isle, Michigan, to replace an older structure, the Old Presque Isle Light. It was U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Major Orlando M. Poe who designed the plans for the new lighthouse, and proposed the total construction cost to be 21,000 dollars more than what was previously appropriated. (Poe was also the chief engineer on General William Tecumseh Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea” during the Civil War.) When he had received enough funding, he gathered construction materials, obtained bids for labor, and organized a working crew.
A lighthouse tender was a smaller ship that would take care of its supported lights. Regularly they would come to service the station, keeping it stocked with food, supplies, and construction materials. The tender Warrington brought the working party and materials to the harbor in the summer of 1870. Work was completed in early summer of 1871. The base was ten feet below the ground, with the base of nineteen feet tapering off to 12 feet right below the gallery. The new tower was built with double walls. Though the winds and the waves here at Presque Isle would not be nearly as rough as they could be at more remote locations like Stannard’s Rock, the walls would still stand strong against any harsh weather Huron could deliver. A spiral cast iron stairway led the keeper 138 steps to the top gallery. This plan was so unique and elegant that it inspired several other lighthouses around the Great Lakes to copy its design. (Outer Island and Au Sable Point on Lake Superior, and Big Sable and Grosse Point on Lake Michigan were recreated using a similar structure.)
A sixteen foot covered passageway connected the tower to the two story keeper’s dwelling, allowing for extra protection when the keepers would go to the tower in harsh weather. A full cellar was built under the house, and here keepers would store personal items as well as oil for the lamp.
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Permission and information sources are from Contributers to this Web Site, the Department of Natural Resources, Michigan.gov, National Park Service,
and the USDA Forest Service.