Waugoshance in 2015
|Year first constructed||1850|
|Year first lit||1851|
|Foundation||Timber crib filled with stone/concrete|
|Construction||Brick encased with steel or iron boilerplate|
|Tower shape||Frustum of a cone (encased in iron in 1883)|
|Markings / pattern||Natural|
|Tower height||63 feet (19 m)|
|Focal height||74 feet (23 m)|
|Original lens||Fourth order Fresnel lens|
|Characteristic||Original: Fog bell, Steam Whistle|
|Heritage||place listed on the National Register of Historic Places |
Waugoshance Light Station
|Nearest city||Waugoshance Island, Michigan|
|Area||0.1 acres (0.040 ha)|
|MPS||U.S. Coast Guard Lighthouses and Light Stations on the Great Lakes TR|
|NRHP reference #||83000841|
|Added to NRHP||August 04, 1983|
The lighthouse at Waugoshance protects boats from a shoal area at the northern end of Lake Michigan. The lighthouse is located in Emmet County, Michigan, United States, and in U.S. Coast Guard District No. 9.
In oceanography, geomorphology, and earth sciences, a shoal is a natural submerged ridge, bank, or bar that consists of, or is covered by, sand or other unconsolidated material, and rises from the bed of a body of water to near the surface. Often it refers to those submerged ridges, banks, or bars that rise near enough to the surface of a body of water as to constitute a danger to navigation. Shoals are also known as sandbanks, sandbars, or gravelbars. Two or more shoals that are either separated by shared troughs or interconnected by past or present sedimentary and hydrographic processes are referred to as a shoal complex.
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. The other four Great Lakes are shared by the U.S. and Canada. It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third-largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron. To the east, its basin is conjoined with that of Lake Huron through the wide Straits of Mackinac, giving it the same surface elevation as its easterly counterpart; the two are technically a single lake.
Emmet County is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 32,694. The county seat is Petoskey.
Boats from Chicago heading North (and ultimately) East need to navigate the narrow tip of northern Lake Michigan, and there are many dangers. The area around Waugoshance Point is not only shallow, it's a large (in area) projection from the bottom of the lake. Boats large enough to safely travel in times of storm cannot approach the light closer than a few hundred yards.[ citation needed ]
Waugoshance Point is a 2.5-mile-long (4.0 km) cape or peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan from the northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan in Emmet County. It separates the Straits of Mackinac to its north from Sturgeon Bay to the south and is part of Wilderness State Park. The nearest town is Mackinaw City. Waugoshance is a hybrid word, that combines the Anishinaabemowin word wah'goosh (English:fox) and the French word anse (English:cove).
Adding to the complication of navigation in this area is the White Shoal, located just north of Waugoshance. This area is currently protected by White Shoal Light—built in 1912, nearby, powerful and larger—and Grays Reef Light which rendered this lighthouse obsolete.
The White Shoal Light is a lighthouse located 20 miles (32 km) west of the Mackinac Bridge in Lake Michigan. It is an active aid to navigation.
During the last half of the nineteenth century, this light marked the turning point for ships traveling through the Straits of Mackinac and along Lake Michigan's eastern shore between the mainland and the Beavers. With a water less than 12 feet (3.7 m) deep, it was "one of the most dangerous parts of the Straits." Thereafter, a "Gray's Reef passage" became more typical because modern freighters require considerably more depth, so Waugoshance is bypassed about 2 miles (3.2 km) to the west.
The Straits of Mackinac are narrow waterways in the U.S. state of Michigan between Michigan's Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The main strait flows under the Mackinac Bridge and connects two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The main strait is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) wide and has a maximum depth of 295 feet (90 m). Hydrologically, the two connected lakes can be considered one lake, which is called Lake Michigan–Huron. Historically, the native Odawa people called the region around the Straits Michilimackinac. The Straits of Mackinac is "whipsawed by currents unlike anywhere else in the Great Lakes".
A cargo ship or freighter ship is a merchant ship that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. Thousands of cargo carriers ply the world's seas and oceans each year, handling the bulk of international trade. Cargo ships are usually specially designed for the task, often being equipped with cranes and other mechanisms to load and unload, and come in all sizes. Today, they are almost always built by welded steel, and with some exceptions generally have a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years before being scrapped.
In 1832 the first lightvessel on the Great Lakes was placed here.That wooden lightship was the Lois McLain. In 1851 she was replaced by the Waugoshance Light, which stands in the area of the Wilderness State Park, and which remains one of the most hazardous areas near the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan. The last light vessel on the Great Lakes was the Lightship Huron.
A lightvessel, or lightship, is a ship that acts as a lighthouse. They are used in waters that are too deep or otherwise unsuitable for lighthouse construction. Although some records exist of fire beacons being placed on ships in Roman times, the first modern lightvessel was off the Nore sandbank at the mouth of the River Thames in England, placed there by its inventor Robert Hamblin in 1734. The type has become largely obsolete; lighthouses replaced some stations as the construction techniques for lighthouses advanced, while large, automated buoys replaced others.
The Great Lakes, also called the Laurentian Great Lakes and the Great Lakes of North America, are a series of interconnected freshwater lakes primarily in the upper mid-east region of North America, on the Canada–United States border, which connect to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence River. They consist of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. Hydrologically, there are only four lakes, because Lakes Michigan and Huron join at the Straits of Mackinac. The lakes form the Great Lakes Waterway.
Wilderness State Park is a public recreation area bordering Lake Michigan, five miles southwest of Mackinaw City in Emmet County in Northern Michigan. The state park's 10,512 acres (4,254 ha) include 26 miles (42 km) of shoreline, diverse forested dune and swale complexes, wetlands, camping areas, and many miles of hiking trails. The state park is operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which has, as of 2006, approved a proposal that 4,492 acres (1,818 ha) be officially dedicated as a wilderness area. Wilderness State Park was designated a Michigan "dark sky preserve" in 2012.
The lighthouse at Waugoshance was arguably the first light built in the Great Lakes that was totally surrounded by water. Both its construction and its continued maintenance were rendered extremely hazardous by the severe weather conditions of the area. Waugoshance is at the northern end of the long fetch of "south-wester" waves on Lake Michigan; the wave action is amplified as they build upon the shoal.
The imposing crib structure was a first on the Great Lakes. The pier was reconstructed in 1870—a massive undertaking that was hampered by the ironic fact that the viable 'building season' is far shorter than even the normal operating season for the light—and used a "bird cage" lantern, which makes it one of only three built on the Great Lakes. The lantern originally held the first fourth order Fresnel lens on the Great Lakes.
Although the light is now gray in color, it was originally painted in four broad horizontal Red and white stripes as a Daymark. Its walls were encased in steel, and are 5½ feet thick at the bottom. The Waugoshance Light operated from 1851 until its deactivation in 1912, when it remained the property of the U.S. federal government. The encasement was similar to Big Sable Point Light, which was made from Cream City Brick, and also had to be encased in steel boilerplate to retard the deterioration.
Of particular note were the efforts of Lighthouse keepers who rang bells for many days, trying to ward mariners and their vessels off the shoal as they groped through the smoke from the many fires — 1871 Great Chicago Fire, Peshtigo Fire, Northern Michigan including large tracts around Manistee, Michigan, Western Michigan around Holland and the fire in the Thumb near Port Huron—that took place beginning October 8, 1871, casting an impenetrable pall across Lake Michigan for the better part of a week. However, many vessels were lost.
During World War II, the abandoned light was used by the U.S. Navy for bombing practice. . . . it is amazing that anything remains."The Lighthouse keeper's house and all of the wood framing in the lighthouse burnt. The metal shell has fallen away. Today, the lighthouse "is considered one of the most endangered lighthouses in the world." It has been said that, ".
The light is listed on the National Register, Reference #83000841, Name of Listing: WAUGOSHANCE LIGHT STATION (U.S. COAST GUARD/GREAT LAKES TR) It is not on the state list inventory.
It is said to be both a "nautical gravestone" (because of the many wrecks in the vicinity) and on the "most endangered list" of lighthouses,being on the Lighthouse Digest "Doomsday List." It is one of six in Michigan; the remaining five are: Charity Island Light, Fourteen Mile Point Light, Gull Rock Light, Manitou Island Light and Poverty Island Light.
The Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed in 2000. It has undertaken preservation and restoration.The Society's "first priority is raising funds to stabilize the building." It is soliciting funds to rebuild the light, and is seeking an extended lease from the U.S. Coast Guard, so that restoration can continue. In 2009, under the terms of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act the lighthouse was put up for public sale. Another source reports, however, that "In 2009, [it was] deemed excess by the U.S. Coast Guard," so it was "offered at no cost to eligible entities, including federal, state, and local agencies, non-profit corporations, and educational organizations under the provisions of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000."
The lighthouse is closed to the public.
A private boat is recommended to see this light close up. These are, however, dangerous and open water over wide expanses far from shore and interlaced by shoals, so caution is advised.
Short of that, Shepler's Ferry Service out of Mackinaw City offers periodic lighthouse cruises in the summer season. Its "westbound Lighthouse Tour"—three hours more or less—includes passes by various lights, including Waugoshance Light, White Shoal Light, Wilderness State Park, Gray's Reef Light (originally built in 1891), and St. Helena Island Light. Schedules and rates are available from Shepler's.
Another alternative is to charter a seaplane to make a tour of the Mackinac Straits and environs.
The Charlevoix South Pier Light Station is located on Lake Michigan at the entrance to Lake Charlevoix in Charlevoix County in the U.S. state of Michigan at the end of the south pier/breakwater of the channel leading to Round Lake in the city of Charlevoix.
The United States lightship Huron (LV-103) is a lightvessel that was launched in 1920. She is now a museum ship moored in Pine Grove Park, Port Huron, St. Clair County, Michigan.
Because it was positioned near the busy shipping lanes of the mid-19th century, a lighthouse was built on Granite Island in 1868 by the U.S. Lighthouse Board and commissioned in 1869.
The buildings of the St Helena Light complex are the sole surviving structures on St. Helena Island, in Mackinac County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The lighthouse on the St. Helena Island's southeastern point was built in 1872-1873 and went into operation in September 1873. It became one of a series of lighthouses that guided vessels through the Straits of Mackinac, past a dangerous shoal that extends from the island.
Gravelly Shoals Light is an automated lighthouse that is an active aid to navigation on the shallow shoals extending southeast from Point Lookout on the western side of Saginaw Bay. The light is situated about 2.7 miles (4.3 km) offshore and was built to help guide boats through the deeper water between the southeast end of Gravelly Shoals and Charity Island. Architecturally this is considered to be Art Deco style.
Ile Aux Galets Light, also known as Skillagalee Island Light, is located on Ile Aux Galets, a gravelly, low-lying island in northeast Lake Michigan, between Beaver Island and the mainland, approximately 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Cross Village in Emmet County, Michigan. Along with nearby Grays Reef, Waugoshance, and White Shoal Lights, it warns shipping away from the reefs and shoals of Waugoshance Point, which pose an imminent hazard to navigation.
The DeTour Reef Light is a non-profit-operated lighthouse marking the southern entrance of the DeTour Passage between the eastern end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Drummond Island. The light is an automated active aid to navigation. It marks the northern end of Lake Huron. The passage is used by almost all of the Great Lakes commercial freighter traffic moving to and from Lake Superior, with approximately 5,000 vessel movements annually. It is said to be "the gateway to Lake Superior." In addition, many recreational boaters use the passage. The Light is located in Lake Huron, three miles (5 km) south of the nearest town, DeTour Village, Michigan.
Charity Island Light is a lighthouse on Big Charity Island in Lake Huron just off the coast of Au Gres, Northern Michigan.
Mackinaw Point marks the junction of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Founded in 1889, the Old Mackinac Point Light Station was in operation from 1890 until 1957.
The Round Island Light, also known as the "Old Round Island Point Lighthouse" is a lighthouse located on the west shore of Round Island in the shipping lanes of the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. It was deemed necessary because the island is a significant hazard to navigation in the straits, and was seen as an effective complement to the other lights in the area. Because of its color scheme and form — red stone base and wood tower — it has been likened to an old-fashioned schoolhouse. Ferries regularly pass it on their way to Mackinac Island, and it is a recognizable icon of the upper Great Lakes.
The Little Sable Point Light is a lighthouse located south of Pentwater in the lower peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is in the southwest corner of Golden Township, just south of Silver Lake State Park.
The Michigan City Breakwater lighthouse is located in the harbor of Michigan City, Indiana.
The Harbor Beach Lighthouse is a "sparkplug lighthouse" located at the end of the north breakwall entrance to the harbor of refuge on Lake Huron. The breakwall and light were created by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to protect the harbor of Harbor Beach, Michigan, which is the largest man-made freshwater harbor in the world. Harbor Beach is located on the eastern edge of the Thumb of Huron County, in the state of Michigan.
The lighthouse at Fourteen Foot Shoal was named to note that the lake is only 14 feet (4.3 m) deep at this point, which is a hazard to navigation, ships and mariners.
Poe Reef is a lighthouse located at the east end of South Channel between Bois Blanc Island and the mainland of the Lower Peninsula, about 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Cheboygan, Michigan.
Bois Blanc Light can refer to one of five lighthouses erected on Bois Blanc Island, Michigan, in Lake Huron. Two of the lighthouses are currently standing. The lighthouse and surrounding property are privately owned and closed to the public.
The Seul Choix Light is a lighthouse located in the northwest corner of Lake Michigan in Schoolcraft County, Michigan. The station was established in 1892 with a temporary light, and this light started service in 1895, and was fully automated in 1972. It is an active aid to navigation. There is now a museum at the light and both the building and the grounds are open for visitors from Memorial Day until the middle of October.
The Rock of Ages Light is a U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse on a small rock outcropping approximately 2.25 miles (3.62 km) west of Washington Island and 3.5 miles (5.6 km) west of Isle Royale, in Eagle Harbor Township, Keweenaw County, Michigan. It is an active aid to navigation.
Spectacle Reef Light is a lighthouse 11 miles (18 km) east of the Straits of Mackinac and is located at the northern end of Lake Huron, Michigan. It was designed and built by Colonel Orlando Metcalfe Poe and Major Godfrey Weitzel, and was the most expensive lighthouse ever built on the Great Lakes.
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