Good close-up photographs of Michigan’s no-longer-standing Grassy Island North Channel Range Front Lighthouse are extremely rare. However, that has now changed, thanks to Ann Karrow, who is the granddaughter of lighthouse keeper George Herman August Burzlaff, (1882-1958), who was the keeper of the light from November of 1916 to May of 1920.
This image (left), shows keeper Burzlaff and his family on the front steps of the 1897 Grassy Island North Channel Range Front Lighthouse in a photograph taken probably on the Fourth of July, circa 1917-1919.
George H.A. Burzlaff entered the U.S. Lighthouse Service in June of 1907. Prior to serving at the Grassy Island Range Light Station, he had served at Raspberry Island Lighthouse in Wisconsin and then in Michigan at Point Iroquois Lighthouse, Round Island Lighthouse in the Straits of Mackinac, Big Bay Point Lighthouse, and Tawas Point Lighthouse. On June 7, 1920 he became the head keeper of Michigan’s Alpena Lighthouse, a position he held until he retired on January 25, 1946.
The Grassy Island North Channel Range Front Light, featured on page 38, along with its counter parts, the Grassy Island North Channel Range Rear Light, the Grassy Island South Channel Range Rear Light, and the Grassy Island South Channel Range Front Light, all no longer stand. The area where they once stood is now part of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.
This story appeared in the
Jul/Aug 2020 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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