- I worked as a tour guide for two summers at the Umpqua River Lighthouse in Oregon. This opportunity enabled me to learn more about this lighthouse than any of the others I've seen. Although I have personally visited 302 lighthouses in the United States and three Provinces in Canada, the Umpqua River Lighthouse has special meaning for me.
03 May 2012
Michigan - Sand Point Lighthouse
This lighthouse served mariners continuously from 1868 until 1939 with one exception. For a short time during 1886 it was out of commission because of a fire which severely damaged the building. This fire also cost the life of Mary Terry, one of the first women light keepers on the Great Lakes.
By 1939, the contours of the Escanaba Harbor had been changed by dredging and filling, which left the lighthouse some distance from the Sand Point Hazard for which it had been giving warnings for years. So, upon taking responsibilities for navigational lights that year, the Coast Guard constructed a crib light several hundred feet offshore. The lighthouse, after major alterations, then became the residence for the Officer-in-Charge of the station.
In 1985 the Coast Guard discontinued use of the building and a lease was negotiated with the Delta County Historical Society. Restoration to the exterior of the lighthouse was completed to return it to its original appearance. The interior spaces were decorated as they would have appeared a hundred years ago, following the 1886 fire.
In 1998 I visited this lighthouse, and it stood as an example of pride and many hours of hard work put forth by the historical society to preserve a piece of Escanaba's local history.