Digest>Archives> May 2003

Munising Range Lights Have New Owners


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Munising Front Range Light, courtesy of Gregg ...

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has acquired the front and rear range lights of the Munising U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station (also referred to as the Munising Range Lights) through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. The primary purpose for acquisition is to continue maintenance and upkeep of the building and for office space. The station ties in with the mission of the park which is to “preserve for the benefit, inspiration, education, recreational use, and enjoyment of the public, a significant portion of the diminishing shoreline of the United States and its related geographic and scientific features.”

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Munising Rear Range Light in Michigan. Photo by ...
Photo by: Bill Mertz

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore interprets the history and stories associated with the U.S. Lighthouse Service, U.S. Life Saving Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Current facilities within the park are the former U.S. Coast Guard life boat station at Sand Point in Munising (1933), the former U.S. Coast Guard lifeboat station and Harbor of Refuge keepers quarters at Grand Marais, Michigan (1938 and 1908), and the lighthouse at Au Sable Point (1874) west of Grand Marais are dedicated to this history. The Munising Range Light and Grand Marais Harbor of Refuge Keepers Quarters are of identical design, both constructed in 1908. The National Park Service at Pictured Rocks is a logical caretaker for the Munising Range Lights given the mission of the park and current park operations.

The Station building is being used as office space for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore staff, housing the Science and Natural Resources. The building will be open to visiting scientists, researchers and any others doing business with the National Park Service.

The front range light is situated on a parcel of land approximately .32 acres on the shore of Lake Superior in Munising, MI. It consists of the 1) the front range light, a 58 foot white cylindrical brick and cast iron tower, constructed in 1908 by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG); 2) a 360 sq.ft. metal-sided garage; 3) a 2,175 square foot station building constructed out of brick and wood; 4) a 99 square foot fuel storage building constructed out of brick, and 5) a 70 foot steel VHF tower.

The front range light shines 79 feet above the water level of Lake Superior. It was built to aid vessels navigating through the narrow passage east and south of Grand Island into the main harbor, often referred to as Munising Bay. It is an active aid to navigation, denoted as LLNR 14575.

The rear range light is located on Hemlock Street, approximately one-third of a mile southwest of the front range light on less than .02 acres and consists of a 33 foot white cylindrical brick and cast iron tower. It is an active aid to navigation, denoted as LLNR 14580.

Three interpretive wayside exhibits are planned for the station grounds to convey the rich history of shipping and aids to navigation in the area.

For additional information, contact Gregg Bruff, Chief of Heritage Education, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore at gregg_bruff@nps.gov.

This story appeared in the May 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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