Thunder Bay Island

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Thunder Bay Island is a 215-acre (87 ha) island in Lake Huron. The island is one of eight constituent islands of the Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The island is part of Alpena Township in Alpena County. It marks the entrance to Thunder Bay, the harbor of Alpena, Michigan and the location of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Island Any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water

An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or a lake island may be called an eyot or ait, and a small island off the coast may be called a holm. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands is called an archipelago, such as the Philippines.

Lake Huron one of the Great Lakes of North America

Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the easterly portion of Lake Michigan–Huron, having the same surface elevation as its westerly counterpart, to which it is connected by the 5-mile-wide (8.0 km), 20-fathom-deep Straits of Mackinac. It is shared on the north and east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the south and west by the state of Michigan in the United States. The name of the lake is derived from early French explorers who named it for the Huron people inhabiting the region. The Huronian glaciation was named due to evidence collected from Lake Huron region. The northern parts of the lake include the North Channel and Georgian Bay. Across the lake to the southwest is Saginaw Bay. The main inlet is the St. Marys River, and the main outlet is the St. Clair River.

Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge

The Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge is a designation for eight Michigan islands in the North American Great Lakes. Owned by the United States federal government, they were set aside for ecosystem protection purposes by President Franklin D. Roosevelt 1943.


The island is the home of a historic Thunder Bay Island Light, which in its current form dates to 1857, [1] and adjacent quarters for the lightkeeper. The island also contains the sites of quarters for lifesaving service personnel and private-sector fishermen.

Thunder Bay Island Light historic lighthouse in Michigan, United States

Thunder Bay Island Light, located on Thunder Bay Island's southeast tip, is one of the oldest operating lighthouses in Michigan. The third operating U.S. lighthouse in Lake Huron was built here in 1831, but it disintegrated almost at once and was rebuilt in 1832 of local limestone. This 40-foot (12 m) 1830s light tower was raised 10 feet (3.0 m)) to a height of 50 feet (15 m) in 1857, and sheathed with brick. A fourth order Fresnel lens was installed. This 1857 light tower is the current Thunder Bay Island Light, although the tower has been further altered and is currently 63 feet (19 m) high.


Light station

The third operating U.S. lighthouse in Lake Huron was built here in 1831.

Lifesaving station

Thunder Bay Island was also the site of a station, opened in 1876, operated by the United States Life-Saving Service. It operated under that name until 1939, when the Life-Saving Service was consolidated into the Coast Guard. [1]

United States Life-Saving Service

The United States Life-Saving Service was a United States government agency that grew out of private and local humanitarian efforts to save the lives of shipwrecked mariners and passengers. It began in 1848 and ultimately merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the United States Coast Guard in 1915.

Fishing station

In addition to the lightkeepers and lifesaving servicemen, who were employees of the U.S. federal government, private-sector families lived on Thunder Bay Island in the 1800s. During the 1830s and 1840s, a commodity market in barrelled fish arose on Lake Huron. The fresh-caught fish was quickly brought to a fishing station after being caught, and salted for preservation. A fishing station sprouted on Thunder Bay Island during this period, and an 1846 gazetteer counted 160 settlers on the island and 31 fishing boats that called the island their home port. Most of these fishing boats were small Mackinaw boats. The total catch is said to have been 12,000 barrels of fish per year. The Thunder Bay Island fishing station supported a small general store. [1]

Fish vertebrate animal that lives in water and (typically) has gills

Fish are gill-bearing aquatic craniate animals that lack limbs with digits. They form a sister group to the tunicates, together forming the olfactores. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish as well as various extinct related groups. Tetrapods emerged within lobe-finned fishes, so cladistically they are fish as well. However, traditionally fish are rendered paraphyletic by excluding the tetrapods. Because in this manner the term "fish" is defined negatively as a paraphyletic group, it is not considered a formal taxonomic grouping in systematic biology, unless it is used in the cladistic sense, including tetrapods. The traditional term pisces is considered a typological, but not a phylogenetic classification.

The Mackinaw boat is a loose, non-standardized term for a light, open sailboat used in the interior of North America during the fur trading era. Within this term two different Mackinaw boats evolved: one for use on the upper Great Lakes, and the other for use on the upper Missouri River and its principal tributaries.

General store rural or small town store

A general merchant store is a rural or small town store that carries a general line of merchandise. It carries a broad selection of merchandise, sometimes in a small space, where people from the town and surrounding rural areas come to purchase all their general goods. The store carries routine stock and obtains special orders from warehouses. It differs from a convenience store or corner shop in that it will be the main shop for the community rather than a convenient supplement.

After a few decades, however, the yield of Lake Huron fish declined. The Thunder Bay Island fishing station became a ghost town.

Ghost town city depopulated of inhabitants and that stays practically intact

A ghost town is an abandoned village, town, or city, usually one that contains substantial visible remains. A town often becomes a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, prolonged droughts, government actions, uncontrolled lawlessness, war, pollution, or nuclear disasters. The term can sometimes refer to cities, towns, and neighbourhoods that are still populated, but significantly less so than in past years; for example, those affected by high levels of unemployment and dereliction.

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Coordinates: 45°02′30″N83°12′00″W / 45.04167°N 83.20000°W / 45.04167; -83.20000