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Tawas Point Lighthouse, East Tawas

4.5
#38 of 140 in Historic Sites in Michigan
Lighthouse · Tourist Spot
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Tawas Point Light is located in the Tawas Point State Park off Tawas Bay in Lake Huron in Baldwin Township in Northern Michigan.
In 1850, Congress appropriated $5,000 for the construction of a lighthouse. In 1852, construction started, and the lighthouse was commissioned in 1853. After the lighthouse was built, many problems were encountered. Shifting sands caused the point to be extended by nearly a mile. The original light was a 5th Order Fresnel lens, later upgraded when the building was replaced.
In 1867, the Inspector of the lighthouse said that the lighthouse was wearing down to the point where they should consider renovating it. The Lighthouse Board ignored his request to put more money in the lighthouse because they had bigger problems at hand in Ottawa Point. The waves caused sand build-up by the Point, which added almost a mile, more of land. The lighthouse was so far inland that mariners were unable to see the lighthouse's light. To add to the problem this lighthouse was known for its dim light. With all these problems combined, it caused a shipwreck from Captain Olmstead's schooner "Dolphin". He blamed the lighthouse stating that it was too dim to see the light. This caused the Lighthouse board to reconsider their option at renovating or rebuilding a new one. In 1875 Congress approved a $30,000 amount for a brand new lighthouse. They finished building the lighthouse sometime in 1877.
It was originally known as Ottawa Point. The name was officially changed to Tawas Point in 1902. The point is a substantial hazard to navigation. Additionally, because it is tucked behind the point, Tawas Bay is an ideal shelter from storms, wind and waves out of the north and northeast. The point juts out into Lake Huron, and has been getting much larger over time. A map is available, which shows the accretion. The original light was begun in 1852, and completed in 1853. The light was fueled at various times by lard oil, then kerosene, and the current light is of course now electric. This is the second lighthouse on the point.
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Tawas Point Lighthouse reviews

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  • One of the nice lighthouses on my shoreline tour of Michigan. You will need a Michigan Recreation Pass since it's in a State Park. There are some nice and easy trails around the lighthouse and... 
    One of the nice lighthouses on my shoreline tour of Michigan. You will need a Michigan Recreation Pass since it's in a State Park. There are some nice and easy trails around the lighthouse and...  more »
  • We weren't able to tour the lighthouse, but it's still a very nice place to visit. You can park in the lot and can easily walk to the lighthouse as well as the beach. The entire area is very pretty... 
    We weren't able to tour the lighthouse, but it's still a very nice place to visit. You can park in the lot and can easily walk to the lighthouse as well as the beach. The entire area is very pretty...  more »

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