Fort Gratiot Light, the first lighthouse in the state of Michigan, was constructed north of Fort Gratiot in 1829 by Lucius Lyon, who later became one of Michigan's first U.S. Senators.
The Fort Gratiot Light marks the entrance to the St. Clair River from Lake Huron (going south) in the southern portion of Michigan's Thumb. The light is still active and the grounds are an active Coast Guard facility, but it has recently been handed over to the Port Huron Museum. It is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Michigan. There is also a public beach and park on the property, known as Lighthouse Beach.
It is across the river from Point Edward Front Range Light.
With the completion of the Erie Canal, traffic in the Great Lakes increased dramatically. Coal was being brought from Michigan, stone (and more timber) was being brought from Wisconsin and the entrance to the St. Clair River became a bottleneck. In 1823, Congress appropriated $3,500 to construct a light in "Michigan Territory" near Fort Gratiot.
The contract for construction of the lighthouse and keeper's dwelling was awarded to Captain Winslow Lewis of Massachusetts. Lewis was the inventor of the patented Lewis lamp, which the Fifth Auditor had universally adopted as the primary source of illumination in the nation's growing inventory of lighthouses. A staunch supporter and ally of the Fifth Auditor, Lewis had branched out into the business of lighthouse construction, and as the frequent low bidder, was being awarded a growing number of contracts to fulfill the nation's need for navigational aids on the East Coast.
Work out when and for how long to visit Fort Gratiot Lighthouse and other Port Huron attractions using our handy Port Huron trip planner.
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse Reviews
hour tour great place to learn history the guide was great and very informative was showed the Hospital the houses they lived in and a walk up the lighthouse more »
Was just planning a quick stop to see the lighthouse and read the historical marker. Decided to use the restroom and found that the gift shop was beyond adorable. Had to run back out to the car to... more »
Wow! The people running this was so good to our travel group. We weren't planning on doing the tour, but we were so glad we did. The people taking care of this site have done a phenomenal job preserving and communicating the history and present day value of this site.
I'm a pretty nut about lighthouses matter of fact if I ever hit the lottery I am buying one and living in it. The Gratiot lighthouse is beautiful and if your not scared of heights you can go out on the catwalk. You can see our neighboring country Canada across the water way.
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