The Pentwater South Pierhead Lighthouse was built in 1867 to guide vessels into the channel that connected lake Michigan to Pentwater Lake. An elevated timber walkway built above the breakwater pier was supposed to allow the lighthouse keeper safe access to the tower. However this was not also the case as during times of storms waves would crash over the walkway leaving the keeper either unable to get to the light or trapped in the tower until the storm subsided.
In the late 1800's the U.S. Life Saving Service, the sister organization of the
U.S. Lighthouse Service built a life-saving station opposite the lighthouse by the north pier. The Coast Guard who continued to maintain a presence at the site until the late 1950's took over this station in 1915.
In the mid 1930's the old piers were deemed unsafe and had to be replaced by modern concrete breakwaters. It was decided at that time to demolish the old lighthouse and replace it with a steel skeleton style tower with a light on the top and the old lighthouse now is only but a scant memory.
By the late 1900's it was decided that another light was needed to mark the north breakwater pier and a modern cylindrical tower was built that was topped with a green beacon.
This story appeared in the
April 2008 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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