Coinciding with the 16th Annual Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival that was held this past October in Alpena, Michigan, the United States Department of the Interior has announced that the Waugoshance, Middle Island, and South Haven Pierhead lighthouses have been approved for ownership transfer under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.
Although the official letter announcing the approval of Middle Island Lighthouse from the Department of the Interior was addressed to Marv Theut, president of the Middle Island Lightkeepers Association, it was opened and read by Tim Harrison, editor of Lighthouse Digest, to the audience attending the Friday evening banquet of the festival.
Harrison jokingly said that he had friends in the Post Office who had intercepted the letter for him so it could be read for the first time to those attending the festival. Harrison said, “As well as being president of the Middle Island Lighthouse group, Marv Theut and his wife Joy, are cofounders of Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival, which made the reading of the announcement at the banquet even more appropriate.”
The Middle Island Lightkeepers Association has leased the tower from the Coast Guard for the past 20 years. The 71-foot tall Middle Island Lighthouse is on an island in Lake Huron and marks the shallow waters between Presque Isle and Thunder Bay.
The 37-foot tall cast iron South Haven South Pier Lighthouse was approved for transfer to the Historical Association of South Haven. The South Haven South Pier Head Light Station was established in 1872; however the current tower was built in 1903.
The Waugoshance Lighthouse, which needs the most help, is on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List of Endangered Lighthouses. It was awarded to the Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society. Located in northern Lake Michigan, the 1851 tower was deactivated in 1910. Today, the lighthouse sits in ruins.
This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 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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