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South Manitou Island Light

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1858 lightkeeper's house; 1870 tower. The southeast point of the island, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
  • (HABS)
  • Elevation (HABS)
  • (Photograph by Kathryn Bishop Eckert)
  • (Photograph by Kathryn Bishop Eckert)
  • (Photograph by Kathryn Bishop Eckert)

The lighthouse marks the Manitou Passage, which runs between the mainland and the Manitou islands and serves as the major shipping channel between Chicago and the Straits of Mackinac. The South Manitou Island harbor is one of the few natural deepwater harbors on Lake Michigan between Chicago and the Straits, and the island possessed a vast supply of timber. Wood-burning steamers frequently stopped at South Manitou Island to take on hardwood for fuel. A light station has aided navigation here since 1839. The yellow brick lightkeeper's dwelling was constructed in 1858 and the 104-foot-high conical brick tower in 1870. The U.S. Coast Guard abandoned the light in 1958, but the National Park Service relighted it in 2008 with a replica of the original Fresnel lens.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "South Manitou Island Light", [Leland, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 435-436.

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