Big Sable Point Light
By Dave Wobser and Colt Edin

Another major coastal light for Lake Michigan shipping. Big Sable Point is the first landfall for vessels heading north out of Chicago.

Completed in 1867, the 112-foot conical brick tower is 19'-2" in diameter at the base and was encased in steel in 1900 to preserve the deteriorating brickwork. It is painted in black and white horizontal stripes, with a black, 10-sided lantern room.

In 1908 a fog signal was added and in 1933 the first road was built to the lighthouse. The original 1897 sound signal building was lost to erosion in 1941. Electric power came to the light in 1949 and automation followed in 1968. The tower was in grave danger in 1977 when Lake Michigan reached a point within 4 feet of the lighthouse. Since then a new seawall was built and an extremely determined  group formed to preserve the light.

The tower is connected by a covered passageway to the duplex 29' X 63-foot frame keeper's dwelling which is under going restoration by the Big Sable Lighthouse Keeper's Association.

Removed in 1985, the original Third-Order Fresnel lens bears the inscription "Sautter & Co., Constructeurs", and is on display in the Rose Hawley Museum in downtown Ludington.

Located 8 Miles north of Ludington, Michigan, on Lake Michigan. Route 116 to Ludington State Park, then 1.5 mile walk north along the beach, or hard packed sand road. The duplex dwelling is open to visitors at certain times during the summer.

The Big Sable Point Lighthouse Association is sponsoring bus tours to see the light station during the summer of 2004. Information is available at

The association recruits volunteers who take turns living at the lighthouse for two week stints throughout the summer. There is usually a waiting list to do this. The volunteers give tours and perform minor maintenance. Interested persons can call 231-845-7343.

Click on images to enlarge

Photograph by Dave Wobser

2016 view - Roger Pashby

Click here to view more pictures

Location: Ludington, Michigan
Date Built: 1867
Active: Yes

Open to


Route 116 to Ludington State Park

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