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Name: Grand Traverse Light  

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Also known as: Cat's Head Light

Also known as: Northport Light

Nearest Town or City:
Northport, Michigan, United States

Location: Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan.

Click to enlarge: Photo    Large photo
Photo: Alan Culley
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Managing Organization:
Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum

Telephone: 231-386-7195


Contact Address Information:
P.O. Box 43
Michigan, 49670, United States

This lighthouse is located within Leelanau State Park, which features coastal dunes, rustic campsites along Lake Michigan and eight miles of hiking trails. The light was replaced by a skeletal tower in 1972, and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Foundation worked to preserve the station, which is now maintained as a museum. The lighthouse is owned by the state and leased to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum.

Tower Height: 47

Height of Focal Plane: 50

Description of Tower: White, square brick tower on roof of keeper's dwelling, with red lantern.

This light is not operational

Other Buildings?
Integral 2.5 story brick keeper's house, oil house, fog signal building.

Date Established: 1852

Date Present Tower Built: 1858

Date Deactivated: 1972

Optics: 1858: Fifth order Fresnel lens.

Fog Signal: The foghorn is now operational, but only on a demonstration basis on Saturdays in the summer months.

Current Use: Museum.

Open To Public? Yes.

There is a museum in the keeper's quarters. A fourth order Fresnel lens is on display. The rooms are restored with period furnishings. Visitors may also climb to the lantern room for a spectacular view. Hours; May 1-May 31, 12-4 p.m.; June 1 - Labor Day, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. ; day after Labor Day - Oct 31, 12 - 4 p.m., Sat & Sun in the month of Nov. and closing on the first Sunday in Dec. with a Christmas celebration.

From Traverse City, take M-22 to Northport. In Northport take M-201 and follow the signs to Leelanau State Park and the lighthouse. For information on Lake Michigan lighthouse tours, call the West Michigan Tourist Association at (800) 442-2084 or visit their website at For reservations, call Brenner Tours at 800-338-5963.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Keepers: David Moon (1852-1853), Philo Beers (1853-1857), Gilman Chase (1857-1859), H. J. Beers (1859-1861), Solomon Case (1861-1862), Dr. H. R. Schetterly (1862-1873), John C. Hall (1873-1874), Peter Nelson (1874-1890), George Buttars (1890-1919), Reynold Johnson (1919-1922), James McCormick (1922-1938), Paul Walter (1938-1939), Ernest Hutzler (1939-1945), Fred W. Leslie (1945- 1948), Edwin Johnson (1952-1954), Carl Walters (1954-1955), James M. Haley (1955-1958), John Olson (?), Albert W. McKinney (?), John Marken (1966-1967), Terry Herring (1972)

Nearby Lodging: Volunteer "keepers" spend two weeks at the lighthouse, greeting visitors and providing tours of the museum. Email for more information. Camping is also available at Leelanau State Park. For reservations using a credit card, call 1-800-44-PARKS.

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