Local lore claims that the Lake Michigan port city of Frankfort, Michigan was not named after the city of the same name in Germany. Legend has it that back in the pioneer days a fur trader by the name of Frank established a trading camp on Betsie Bay. He was said to be paranoid on the subject of fur thieves and built a barricade around his camp that resembled a frontier fort. His detractors began calling the stockade “Frank’s Fort.” The letter “s” was later dropped and the community became known as Frankfort.
The U.S. Life-Saving Service built a station on the south side of Betsie Bay, and according to some oral history, the site was known as South Frankfort, now Elberta. The railroad operating the car ferries traded sites with the Coast Guard, and the old Life-Saving Service Station became a railroad freight depot. The U.S. Coast Guard moved to its present site at the northwest entrance to the bay.
The Frankfort Pier Light may soon become part of the Point Betsie Light Station family. The totally restored Point Betsie Lighthouse Station structures are open summer weekends and Monday Holidays. To learn more, you can visit their website at www.pointbetsie.org
This story appeared in the
Sep/Oct 2011 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.
All contents copyright © 1995-2024 by Lighthouse Digest®, Inc. No story, photograph, or any other item on this website may be reprinted or reproduced without the express permission of Lighthouse Digest. For contact information, click here.