Muskegon South Pierhead
By Dave Wobser

Completed in 1903, this conical red tower replaced a shore light that had been built in 1852. The light is at the end of a concrete pier on the south side of the channel that connects Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake.

The tower is cast iron and stands 48 feet tall. The lantern room holds a Fourth Order Fresnel lens that is semi-circular and has a brass reflector panel. The light shines over 180 degrees of the horizon.

The U.S. Coast Guard Station Muskegon is located on shore at the base of the pier.

The light is located next to Pere Marquette Park on Beach Street, at the end of either Lakeshore Drive or Sherman Boulevard.

Also located in Muskegon, near the lighthouse, is the WWII museum submarine USS Silversides.

2010 Update - Public tower climbs are one eventual goal of a volunteer group that's taking possession of the two red-painted lighthouses next to Muskegon's Pere Marquette Park. The U.S. General Services Administration transferred ownership of the more than century-old lighthouses from the federal government to a Fenton-based historic preservation group called the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy.  The Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy is a registered IRS 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation in the state of Michigan. For more details on the conservancy please visit http://www.michiganlights.com

Conservancy members, none of them from the Muskegon area, hope to garner help from local volunteers and raise money from local donors for a preservation and restoration drive. "It's a new beginning for the lights, and hopefully their future will be bright," said Jeff Shook, Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy president. "We're very excited to start working on preserving the lights and getting the community involvement."

It won't be cheap, and it will take time. Rough cost estimates range up to $250,000 apiece for full restoration of the towers, Shook said. "The whole process is just at the very, very beginning," Shook said. "This will be a several-year process, and it all depends on how willing people are in the community to support the project. We'll be looking at local partners." He said the small group has had some preliminary contacts with potential Muskegon partners whom he declined to name.

He said preservation is the top priority for the lighthouses, but at some point the conservancy hopes to open up at least one of them to the public. Attention likely will focus first on the South Pierhead Light, the likelier candidate for tower climbs, Shook said. Getting to the top of the South Breakwater Light is more difficult, and it has less of a safety railing.

Even the South Pierhead Light needs major restoration before it can be opened to visitors. For example, the watchroom just below the lantern room has a hole in the floor, Shook said.

More information about the Muskegon lights is available at  www.muskegonlights.org

Click on image to enlarge

Photograph by Dave Wobser

Location: Muskegon, Michigan
Date Built: 1903
Active: Yes

Open to
public:

No
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