With the establishment of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse in 1892, the 1869 McGulpin Point Light was rendered obsolete. The light was finally extinguished in 1906, the lantern and lens removed for use elsewhere, and the lighthouse sold into private ownership in 1913. The lighthouse changed owners a number of times over the ensuing years until 2008, when a forward-thinking Emmet County decided to purchase the lighthouse, making it one of precious few lighthouses in the country to be returned into the public domain after passing into private ownership.
A seven-member Historical Commission was immediately formed, with Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper's Association's Sandy Planisek serving as the committee's chair, and Dick Moehl as one of the commissioners. Over the latter half of 2008, plans were put in place to not only open the lighthouse to the public, but to install a replica lantern and reestablish the lighthouse as a private aid to navigation. Contracts were subsequently awarded to Moran Iron Works of Onaway and Adams Casting of Bay City to construct a replica lantern, application was successfully made with the Coast Guard to reestablish the light, and a 300 mm LED-powered optic ordered from the Tideland Signal Corporation.
A gala relighting ceremony is scheduled for May 30 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., with the actual relighting ceremony to occur at noon. There will be music, refreshments and presentations, numerous dignitaries in attendance as well as guided tours of the lighthouse. The public is cordially invited to attend this momentous occasion.
This story appeared in the
May 2009 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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