Digest>Archives> August 1995

Gulliver's Light turns 100: Future uncertain

By Timothy Harrison


August marks the 100th birthday of Michigan's Seul Choix Lighthouse, a name most people can't even pronounce. But in doing some checking I got the correct pronunciation on a recent visit to the State Savings Bank in the quiet town of Gulliver, Michigan.

It was there that we met Lynn Norton who seems to be a jack of all trades and all around nice person. Not only does she work for the bank, she is the treasurer of the Gulliver Historical Society that runs the lighthouse, operates a gift shop for the lighthouse (which just happens to be in the bank), and taught us the correct way to say Seul Choix. The best way I could figure out to put in writing is "Sis Shwa".

The Seul Choix Lighthouse was completed in 1895 and the station included quarters for two families, two docks, and a tramway.

In 1972 that station was automated and Coast Guard personnel left the station. The station was rescued from sure destruction by vandalisim or the elements and is now maintained by the all volunteer Gulliver Historical Society under the direction of Marilyn Fisher.

The station is in great condition and the volunteers maintain a gift shop at the lighthouse as well as at the bank in town. I can tell you that their new Centennial sweatshirt is great. I have so many lighthouse sweatshirts, that I don't often buy another one, but this is one that I couldn't resist.

Although this years 100th birthday for the lighthouse is a great event, it is shadowed by recent announcements by the Coast Guard that could close the facility.

If the lighthouse is eliminated as a navigational beacon by the Coast Guard, the Gulliver Historical Society would lose their 30 years lease and the property would be transferred to the General Accounting Office. The Society most likely would then be asked to leave the premises and all the thousands of dollars in restoration and maintenance done to the light might have been in vain. While the Government Accounting Office would be deciding who would get the lighthouse (and historical societies are at the bottom of their list) the property could be closed to the public and again be the subject of neglect and vandalisim. This indeed would be unjustified, if not morally wrong.

We would suggest that our readers write to their United States Senator and request that this lighthouse be maintained as an active aid to navigation, which would enable the Gulliver Historical Society to keep their 30 years lease. Another suggestion to your Senator might be to simply pass title of the property to the Gulliver Historical Society and giving the Coast Guard a right of way. This can be done by an Act of Congress and has been done with other lighthouses.

Remember, any U.S. Senator or Congressman from any ocean front state or Great Lakes state is interested in lighthouse preservation and they do read their mail. Every letter counts.

By the way, if you would like to join the Gulliver Historical Society, membership is only $5.00 per year or $50.00 for lifetime. Their address is Rt. 1 Box 1, Gulliver, MI 49840. Write to them, they would love to hear from you. Lets keep this beautiful and historic station open.

This story appeared in the August 1995 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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