Lighthouses

Grays Reef Lighthouse

 

Location: Michigan
Date Built: 1936
Lodging: No
Height(Approximate):82 Feet (25 Meters)
Active: Yes
Open For Tours: No

In the northern part of Lake Michigan, sits the Grays Reef lighthouse. In the late 1800s, this area became quite congested with cargo ships passing by the area that were responsible for safely moving iron ore from one part of the lake to another. The crowded waterways only added to the danger of traversing the unforgiving terrain the waters of Lake Michigan is known for. In an effort to save money, and limit the scope of the project, Congress decided to use a handful of lightships instead of building a lighthouse. Lightships were a common alternative to lighthouses as they were generally cheaper to operate because a full time lighthouse keeper wasn’t needed. The approval and money provided for these light boats resulted in 3 of them being made and spread out in such a way that they were quite effective in lighting the area.

The lightships were used until 1934. However, when the ships wore out and needed to be replaced, Congress approved the actual building of a lighthouse. The decision was finalized on February 14, and companies were able to place a bid on the construction of Grays Reef lighthouse. The winning bid went to the Greiling Brothers Company, probably due to the their past experience and reputation for successfully constructing structures in or around water.

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