Date Built: 1995
Height(Approximate): 44 Feet (13.5 Meters)
Open For Tours: Yes
Lighthouse keepers are notorious for their dedication, but the charm of the lighthouse has inspired a legion of enthusiasts like Steve Koshi. Mr. Koshi built the Indian Country Sports Lighthouse in L’Anse, which lights up Keweenaw Bay in Lake Superior, simply because he loves lighthouses and wanted one of his very own.
Over a century ago, the location of the Indian Country Sports Lighthouse was a busy hub for ships hauling copper and other goods across the Great Lakes. The many lighthouses along the coasts of the Great Lakes provided safe passage to the ships, and the town of L’Anse developed into a port that was home to sailers and miners. Due to the town’s proximity to the copper mines, copper stamping mills were popular and the town boomed until the mines emptied. As the mining slowed, so did the local economy. While the copper stamping mills were abandoned, shipping warehouses and fishing remained viable sources of revenue for the community. Outdoor activities like hunting also remained popular, and provided a source of tourism revenue for the busted mining town.
The popular outdoor activities made L’Anse the perfect location for the Indian Country Sports Store, which was established in 1977 and is attached to the lighthouse. The store quickly became a hub for purchasing sporting goods, and for locals to gather and reminisce about the town’s rugged past over a cup of coffee. The store also includes many items of memorabilia and has become a landmark of sorts. Although it was built only a few decades ago by Steve’s father, Steve and his wife, Anne, are committed to keeping the store connected to the town’s rich past.
By this time, lighthouse keepers were a thing of the past, as technology had automated the job. The only way to become a lighthouse keeper in modern times would be to build your own lighthouse, so that is exactly what Steve did. When the store was due for other renovations, Steve built his own 50 foot tall, fully operational lighthouse, in 1995. To reflect the town’s maritime past, an electric bulb flashes every two and one half seconds to guide the ghosts of passing ships.
At first, Indian Country Sports Lighthouse was not official, but it is now recognized by the US Coast Guard. At the time of the lighthouse’s completion, the list of registered lighthouses had not been amended in 70 years. In fact, the Coast Guard had forgotten how to amend the list, but they soon deciphered the process and Steve Koshi’s lighthouse proudly became the newest official lighthouse in the region.
Indian Country Sports is involved with many of the local recreational events, continuing the town’s identity as the outdoor lover’s paradise. One of these events includes the Annual Baraga County Lake Trout Festival, which features a marathon, fishing tournament and volleyball tournament. The fun also includes a yummy pancake breakfast.
Steve and Ann are active in a number of lighthouse related endeavors, including membership to the Huron Island Lighthouse Preservation Association, an organization that is working to restore the Huron Island Lighthouse.
If you have visited the Indian Country Sports Lighthouse, we would love to hear all about it. Please tell us what you thought of Mr. Koshi’s lighthouse in the comments below.