Sand Point Lighthouse

Escanaba, Michigan
in the Upper Peninsula

The Sand Point Lighthouse on
Lake Michigan has been carefully restored
by the Delta County Historical Society

The lighthouse is open to the public from Memorial Day Weekend through Sept.1 (9-5 EST) and during the month of September (1-4 EST)

The Sand Point Lighthouse is located in Ludington Park at Escanaba, on the northeast shore of Lake Michigan, serving mariners continuously from 1868 until 1939.

When this lighthouse was built in 1867 it was at the waters edge and warned the ships off Sand Point and the sand reef which reached out into Little Bay De Noc. The attached brick tower was topped by a cast iron lantern room which housed a fourth order Fresnel lens. The light, a fixed red signal, first shown on the night of May 13, 1868.

Escanaba was a busy harbor and many ships, first schooners and later steamers and whalebacks, carried iron ore out from the several ore docks, and lumber from sawmills. Passengers also arrived at Escanaba by boat from the south

Nine keepers and their families lived in the Sand Point Lighthouse and kept the light burning in its tower and shining out over the Bay until 1939 when the United States Coast Guard took over all navigational lights in the country from the National Lighthouse Service. The harbor had been drastically changed at this time by dredging and filling and the sand point and reef hazard were now part of the park which left the lighthouse some distance from the water. The Coast Guard found it necessary to construct a crib light several hundred feet offshore. This crib light is still in use today, and may be seen from the windows of the old Sand Point Lighthouse.

fresnel lens from the lighthouse, escanaba The Lighthouse building underwent many changes during the years the Coast Guard managed it and could hardly be recognized as the old Lighthouse. Fortunately, when the Coast Guard decided to discontinue the use of the building, the Delta County Historical Society negotiated a lease and the research and fund-raising began.


A copy of the original 1867 plan of the building still existed in the Archives and work began to restore the lighthouse to its original appearance. This was a monumental task as the building had undergone many alterations. Using these old blueprints as a guide, they lowered the roof back to its original level, added a missing 10 feet to the top of the adjoining brick tower and blocked in windows that had not been part of the original lighthouse. Then they set to work on repairs and restoring the interior. They were even able to find a duplicate cast iron lantern room on the ground at Poverty Island and a fourth order Fresnel lens in Menominee to complete the restoration.

The interior rooms have been restored as authentically as possible with 19th century furnishings so you can get the feeling of life as a Keeper of the Light. If you want to know more about Sand Point Lighthouse, one of the rooms contains photographs, books, interesting newspaper articles, and other memorabilia. Books about lighthouses are also available for purchase at the Lighthouse.

Mary Terry, the keeper of the light for 18 years, was one of the first women lighthouse keepers on the Great Lakes. Her husband, John, was appointed the first keeper but he died of consumption while the lighthouse was under construction, and Mary was officially appointed in 1868. An article in the Escanaba newspaper IRON PORT reported that "she was a very methodical woman, very careful in the discharge of her duties and very particular in the care of the property under her charge".

Ore Carrier Nahant

The green buoy to the left of the Lighthouse shows the location of the wreckage of the steamer Nahant. This wreckage is in shallow water and is a popular dive site.

Artifacts from the Nahant are at the Sand Point Lighthouse.

There is a US Coast Guard Museum right behind the Lighthouse containing many interesting artifacts including a photo of the steamer Nahant and a life ring from the USCG Cutter Escanaba.


Sand Point Lighthouse Holiday Open House
Between Christmas and New Years Eve
Phone 906-786-3763 for information
1:00 until 4:00 pm EST each day
Carols, Cookies, and Cheers! Shared History and Friendships!

Music will be furnished by local musicians, the tree will be decorated, and cookies and hot cider will be served in the Lighthouse kitchen next to the cast iron cook stove.

Historical Boathouse

The boathouse has been newly restored and is now open for visitors. The building was brought to Sand Point from Squaw Point Light (on the Stonington Peninsula) in 1914 for the use of the Sand Point Lighthouse Keeper. It houses a restored Coast Guard wooden boat.

Step back in time and see the restored interior with original walls, rafters, and roof structure uncovered once more so that it can be seen as it was when built in 1897.

You may visit the Sand Point Lighthouse and climb the tower.

The Delta County Historical Museum is next door.
The Archives are open 1-5 Monday through Friday
or by appointment.


For more information:

Sand Point Lighthouse
Delta County Historical Society
16 Water Plant Road, Sand Point, Ludington Park
Escanaba, Michigan 49829
(906) 786-3763
or 906-789-6790


Mary Terry, one of the first women lighthouse keepers on the Great Lakes


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