Digest>Archives> November 2006

Major Effort Tops Huron Island Light


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Huron Island Lighthouse in 2000.
Photo by: Shelly Jestica

After seven long years of fund raising a major project to replace the roof at Michigan's Huron Island Lighthouse has been completed.

Replacing the roof of the historic lighthouse, located on West Huron Island Island in Lake Superior three miles north of Huron Point was no easy task.

Workers from Local Roofing of L'Anse, Michigan had to brave high seas and 100 degree humid weather just to get the 62 boxes of shingles weighing 55 pounds each to the island and off the boat onto a decaying and slated dock at the site.

Once they got the shingles and other equipment on the island they had to lug by hand the shingles, lumber and equipment, such as a generator and tools, up the quarter mile rugged hill foot-patch to the lighthouse. The job proved to be quite a challenge for the crew who were forced to leave the island at one point as a moving storm started battering their boats against the docks. Plus all the materials of the old roof had to be removed from the island.

As with most restoration projects once the work got underway, additional damage was uncovered which require more trips for supplies to rebuild all four dormers and the fascias. At one point the work was delayed when the shingles got so hot that the workmen couldn't touch them in the blazing heat.

The new roof is a major accomplishment, but restoration of the lighthouse

is far from over, the rest of the entire structure needs restoration. The site, owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Huron Islands National Wildlife Refuge was allowed by them to fall into a total state of disrepair. However, the volunteers of the Huron Island Lighthouse Preservation Society were formed and stepped forward to lead the efforts to save the lighthouse and they are to be commended for their diligence.

Huron Island Light Station was established in 1868 and the current tower dates from 1877. When the lighthouse was automated in 1972 it was boarded up and left to the elements.

This story appeared in the November 2006 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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