Saturday, September 05, 2009

Upper Peninsula Upventure: Grand Island East Harbor Lighthouse

As with the Upper Peninsula's Copper Harbor Lighthouse, the Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse is accessible only by boat. However, you can't get a picture of it from shore.

I captured this shot while on a tour boat cruise of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore--more on that much later.

This lighthouse is a rarity--it's a wood frame construction with a brick foundation. Grand Island has a second lighthouse, that one is on the north channel.

Built in 1870 for the purpose of guiding boats into Munising Harbor, it failed as a lighthouse--boats couldn't always see it, and it was decommissioned in 1908.

Lighthouse keepers at this time were federal employees who were given one task--keeping the lighthouse lit. Unlike the popular stereotype of an old troll--a Burgess Meredith type--awaiting the next opportunity to terrorize some lost traveler, most keepers were married men with families. Hopefully they got along, because at isolated locations such as Grand Island, they didn't have many opportunities to seek out other people--particularly during the winter. What did they eat? The government supplied the keepers with some dried goods, and families usually tended small gardens. And I'm sure they fished and hunted.

Gardening can be backbreaking work, but less so along the shores of Lake Superior--the summers are short.

Michigan, by the way, has more lighthouses than any other state. Maine is the runner up.

Next: The Munising Front Range Light.

Related posts:

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

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