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Little Sable Point Lighthouse on Lake Michigan

Little Sable Point Lighthouse

More lighthouses dot Michigan’s shores than any other state in the U.S., and Little Sable Point Lighthouse stands tall and proud among them.

The Great Lakes are well-known for big drama in bad weather, and boaters still count on these lighthouses as a beacon of safety. Little Sable Point Lighthouse is a beautiful and breathtaking sight for any visitor. It sits right on the beachy shore, south of Silver Lake Sand Dunes, and is part of Silver Lake State Park.

Tours of Little Sable Point Lighthouse

Photo by: Marcus Reinkensmeyer

Little Sable Point Lighthouse, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, south of Silver Lake Sand Dunes, can easily be viewed from the beach. But if you can, make time for a tour and a trip to the top. It is open for tours daily from May 25, 2018 through September 23, 2018 — 10pm to 5pm. Lighthouse Park requires a Michigan Recreation Passport for entry, or one must be purchased.

The majestic Little Sable Point Lighthouse is one of four area lighthouses staffed by volunteers from the Sable Points Light Keepers Association (SPLKA). They will assist you with questions and get you started on your climb of 130 steps to the top (if you’re over 36 inches tall).

The trip to the top is well worth it. You’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Lake Michigan, the Silver Lake Sand Dunes, forests, and farmland. Educational tours are also available by appointment by calling (231) 845-7417.

Admission: $5 per person (Under 12, $2 per person)

Height Requirements: 36 inches

For more information, visit the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association website.

Directions:

Follow US-31 to the Shelby Road Exit. Follow Shelby Road west to B-15. Follow B-15 to Silver Lake Road. Turn Left onto Silver Lake Road (next to Mac Wood’s Dune Rides). Follow the winding, paved road to the Little Sable Point Light Station.

 

Other Area Lighthouses

White River Light Station

Located just fifteen minutes south of the Hart area is the White River Light Station. Constructed of Michigan brick and limestone, the White River station still stands proud. The station was converted into a museum and is now owned and operated by the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association. The museum contains interesting nautical artifacts and stories of its first lighthouse keeper, Captain William Robinson. It is open during the summer months, Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

Directions: Follow US-31 to White Lake Drive Exit. Turn West to South Shore Drive. Turn left and follow the museum signs to the end of Murray Road.

For More Information: Contact the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association at (231) 845-7417.

North Breakwater Light

At the end of Ludington’s break wall stands the Ludington North Breakwater Light. The original light was placed here in 1871 to help guide vessels through the channel. Although the light was rebuilt in 1924 with the current structure, the light is still actively guiding boats through the channel and along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Directions: Follow US-31 to the US-10 West Exit. Follow US-10 west through downtown Ludington and to the Lake Michigan shore.

For More Information: Contact the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association at (231) 845-7417.

Big Sable Point Lighthouse

Just thirty minutes from the Silver Lake area stands the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. The oldest lighthouse in the area, the 112-foot lighthouse tower was built in 1867.

It is very similar in original design to the Little Sable Point Light Station in Silver Lake. However, the original bricks have been covered with steel plates to protect them from further deterioration. Attached to the tower is the light keeper’s home.

The lighthouse is open May 24 through September 30 everyday from 10am to 5pm. Bus Day is the 2nd Saturday of the month in July, August, and September for those unable to walk the distance to the lighthouse.

Directions: Follow US-10 west through downtown Ludington and to the Lake Michigan shore. The Lighthouse is located 8 miles north of Ludington.

For More Information: Contact the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association at (213) 845-7417

P.O. Box 673, Ludington, Michigan 49431

 

Little Sable Point History

In the 1700s and 1800s, as settlers flocked to the Midwest, shipping was the major mode of transporting people, lumber, minerals, grains, fruit, and other produce from port to port. It was a dangerous business and led to the currently estimated 3,000 shipwrecks at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Lighthouses served and continue to serve a real purpose in lighting the way around dangerous shoals for ship captains and crew. The beautiful red brick Little Sable Point Lighthouse, which was completed in 1874, stands over 100 feet tall with a light that could be seen for 19 miles. A home for light keepers was originally built alongside the lighthouse and was staffed by a variety of light keepers until 1954.

By that time, the lighthouse was under the direction of the U.S. Coast Guard, who converted the light to electricity and made it automatic. The house and other buildings on the property were demolished soon after. However, the original Fresnel lens is still in operation.

Author: Terry Pepper

Website: terrypepper.com

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