The Manistique Breakwater lighthouse is located in the harbor of Manistique, Michigan. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Karlene Carey Photography

East Breakwater Light photo credit Karlene Carey Photography
East Breakwater Lighthouse

LAT 45.944786 LONG -86.247654
Lake Michigan Coastline, Manistique, Michigan 49854
Year First Lit: 1916
Automated: 1969

Foundation: Concrete Pier, Construction: Steel, Tower Shape: Square Pyramidal, Markings/Pattern: Red with Black Lantern, Original Lens: Fourth-Order Fresnel (original).

The East Breakwater Lighthouse, built in 1916, is 35 feet tall and stands at the harbor entrance of the Manistique River. The light is housed in a bright-red square tower that is capped by a black parapet lantern room. A black staircase climbs up from the pier several feet to a door at the bottom of the tower. Only a few small round windows allow light into the interior of this structure. Parking for visitors is available at Lakeview Park, the city beach and marina.

Manistique Lighthouse
East Breakwater Light

National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places

Manistique Lighthouse
Manistique Harbor

At the beginning of the 20th century, Manistique was a boom town, with timber and pig iron shipping from the harbor daily. However, the harbor itself was protected only be timber crib piers originally constructed in the 1870s. However, by 1910, leaders in Manistique managed to convince the Federal government of the financial importance of the harbor, and an Army Corps of Engineers harbor expert was sent to Manistique to draw up plans for a concrete breakwater structure. The contract to construct the breakwaters was awarded to the Greiling Brothers Company, and construction was started in 1910.

At the same time, George Putnam, the newly appointed Commissioner of lighthouses, recommended the erection of lights on the breakwater. In 1912, the Lighthouse Service erected temporary range lights on one of the piers. Funding for permanent lights was approved in 1913, and by 1914 permanent lights on the west breakwater were complete. The east breakwater itself was not completed until 1915, at which time work began on the east breakwater light and a station keeper's house at the foot of the breakwater. Construction was completed in August, and the new light was lit on August 17, 1916.

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As the century progressed, Manistique's importance as a port waned. The light was automated in 1969, and the original Fourth Order Fresnel lens was replaced with a 12-inch (300 mm) Tidelands Signal acrylic optic. In 2000, the Corps of Engineers replaced the concrete breakwater with rip rap.

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