Michigan’s Historic Lighthouses Received $100,000 in Preservation Grants

Two historic Michigan lighthouses, one possibly haunted, are receiving funding to focus on long-term preservation efforts to keep the lights shining on Lake Michigan.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced the recipients of the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office’s $100,000 Lighthouse Assistance Program grants in a press release Thursday.

“Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state, and these beacons stand as icons of our riverside communities,” Michigan State Historic Preservation Officer Mark A. Rodman said in the statement. “Due to decades of harsh weather conditions, our headlights require constant maintenance and attention. Our Lighthouse Preservation Grants help repair and restore these beacons, so they can connect us with our maritime heritage for years to come.

Funding for the program comes solely from the sale of special Save Our Lights license plates available from the Michigan Secretary of State. The Preservation Office has awarded nearly $2.8 million in matching funds to help rehabilitate and preserve the lighthouses.

“Thanks to residents paying a little extra for a lighthouse license plate, we’re able to award grants that help preserve these iconic Michigan structures for the long term,” Rodman said.

The 2022 MLAP grant recipients are:

Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association

Pictured is Big Sable Point Lighthouse.

Francis M. Ombrello/Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Near Ludington, the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association will use a $40,000 MLAP grant and $20,000 matching amount to hire a contractor to report on the historic structures of the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, according to the release. .

“The Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association is delighted to receive this grant from MLAP to help us achieve a major strategic goal of funding a report on the historic structure of the Big Sable Point Lighthouse,” said Peter Manting, Executive Director of the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association, in the release. . “It is exciting to be able to share this with our members as the majority of our members purchase the lighthouse license plate and they will be delighted to know that their funds are going to SPLKA this year.

Take a video tour of Big Sable Point Lighthouse below.

And hear Big Sable Point Lighthouse ghost stories told by lighthouse keepers below.

City of Grand Haven

Pictured is Grand Haven's South Pier.

Pictured is Grand Haven’s South Pier.

Mike Borstler/Michigan Economic Development Corporation

The City of Grand Haven will use the $60,000 grant and $76,409 matching amount to hire a contractor to rehabilitate Grand Haven’s south pier entrance and interior lights. The proposed works will include repairing the exterior concrete walls and deck surfaces; restore exterior concrete stairs; restore the concrete curb and install new metal flashings.

“The Grand Haven South Pier Lights continue their transformation to become one of the best preserved and most accessible lights on the Great Lakes,” Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis said in the statement. “The MLAP grant will complement locally raised funds and is the next step in a multi-year approach to complete preservation and, soon, to regularly open the lights for public enjoyment.


“This grant will help restore the concrete platform and railings of the entrance fire, which is one of the most recognizable and familiar fires on the Great Lakes,” McGinnis continued. “The Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy is forever grateful for the support provided by SHPO and the people of the State of Michigan.”

With over 120 lighthouses, Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state in the country.

Established in 2000 when many lighthouses were transferred out of federal ownership, the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program is intended to help lighthouse stewards restore and repair their historic lighthouses, which in turn helps them stay open and playing. an active role in the state’s local economies as a tourist. and learning destinations. To be eligible for an MLAP grant, applicants must have at least 50% of the MLAP grant amount in matching funds, according to the statement.

“Programs like the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program are extremely important in supporting our statewide tourism efforts, and we are thrilled that these two one-of-a-kind coastal treasures will soon be restored for all to enjoy,” said Dave Lorenz. . , vice president of Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the state’s official tourism promotion agency, in the statement.

Learn more about lighthouse preservation in Michigan here.

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