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All Things Michigan

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East Channel Lighthouse on Grand Island

Andrew Norton

The first time I saw the East Channel Lighthouse on Grand Island was on a trip up to the Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast. My wife and I were traveling through Munising on M-28 and pulled off at a scenic overlook just outside of town. At first glance through our binoculars I thought it was a church that had fallen into disrepair.

Of course common sense told me that building a church directly on the shore of Lake Superior on a remote island was too strange to be true. Upon closer inspection the light tower became more distinct and we knew that it had been a lighthouse. In October of 1908 the last keeper packed his belongings and left. It surprises me that it is standing after over 100 years of the winds and waves of Lake Superior.

In a cost saving move the lighthouse was constructed of timber with wood siding instead of the more commonly used brick or stone. The money saved in construction was probably spent ten-times over in the continuing maintenance necessary in fighting the results of Lake Superior weather. It is difficult to picture this wind-weathered lighthouse with a coat of white paint as it wore during its 40 years (1868-1908).

In 2001, work was done to reconstruct a protective crib out of wooden posts and rock. This protection will help keep the East Channel Lighthouse from deteriorating at a quick rate, but more restoration work is needed if the light is to be saved from the ravages of time and Lake Superior.

Information on the East Channel Lighthouse provided by the following:

For information regarding the restoration of the East Channel Lighthouse you might want to read this article at

If you want to get a good view of the East Channel Lighthouse take one of the Shipwreck Tours out of Munising. Get information on the tours at their website -