This past July, employees of the Hiawatha National Forest and HistoriCorps, along with HistoriCorps volunteers as well as people from the Great Lakes Conservation Corps, completed restoration of the historic Peninsula Point Lighthouse tower in Rapid River, Michigan. With expert guidance from Forest Service archaeologist and project coordinator Eric Drake and HistoriCorp restoration experts, the 1865 light tower was repointed and painted in preparation for continued public enjoyment of this special National Forest location. The entire project took two weeks to complete.
Hiawatha National Forest has previously partnered with HistoriCorps on several other historic structures projects. HistoriCorps is a non-profit organization that supports the restoration of historic structures on public lands by pairing restoration experts with volunteers of all skill levels. Volunteers come from around the country and may bring extensive construction background, while others bring enthusiasm for restoration and a willingness to assist those more skilled. For this project, HistoriCorps volunteers travelled from around the country, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, and beyond.
“People don’t usually expect to see lighthouses on a National Forest, but with shoreline on Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron, Hiawatha National Forest is truly the Great Lakes National Forest,” noted Paul Holeva, Hiawatha National Forest recreation program manager. “We appreciate the partners who help us manage publicly owned lighthouses.”
Ownership of the Peninsula Point lighthouse, sometimes referred to as Point Peninsula Lighthouse, was transferred to the U.S. Forest Service on November 1, 1936, and the Civilian Conservation Corps repaired the light station. Sadly, the lighthouse became the target of severe vandalism, and the government considered demolishing the entire light station.
However, in 1949 the Stonington Grange stepped in and restored the light station, a project that earned them first prize in a Michigan statewide Grange Community Service contest. Sadly, in 1959 a fire burned the keeper’s quarters. Only the brick walls were left standing, which were later demolished, leaving only the tower that stands there today.
This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 2018 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.