By Terry Pepper
Exhibited for the first time on September 25, 1884, the Little Traverse Lighthouse was transferred to the Harbor Point Association immediately on its decommissioning. Since formation in 1991, a committee has been working tirelessly to restore the entire station to its appearance circa 1898, when the indomitable Elizabeth Whitney Williams was serving as the station’s keeper.
From the original fourth order Fresnel lens displayed in the lantern to the hand pump in the kitchen, the lighthouse faithfully evokes an era of dedication and care, with displays interpreting different aspects of lighthouse life. On the carefully manicured grounds, the unique bell tower has been completely restored and equipped with a Gamewell bell striker, making it the only operating bell tower remaining in the United States. While the station privy and barn still remain on the property, the brick oil house had been removed at some time over the years, and the lighthouse committee is currently in the process of obtaining the necessary detailed information to guide them in building a faithful replica of the structure in its original location in the spring of 2011.
As a result of its location in the gated Harbor Point community, lighthouse lovers wishing to view the lighthouse have had to satisfy themselves with photographs taken from the water, with the lighthouse and grounds only being opened to the public on a few rare occasions over the years.
Thankfully, one of these rare occasions will occur on October 1, 2011 when the Harbor Point Association will open the lighthouse to the public for ONE DAY as a fund raising opportunity for the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society. Tours will be available on a first-come, first-served appointment basis.
Additional information such as ticket price and tour times will be available by contacting the Historical Society at (231) 526-9771 or visiting their website: www.HarborSpringsHistory.org.
This story appeared in the
Mar/Apr 2011 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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