Point Betsie Light
By Dave Wobser

An important coastal light on Lake Michigan's eastern shore, this light marks the turning point to north bound vessels entering the Manitou Passage between the Manitou Islands and the Michigan shore.

Completed in 1858 at a cost of $3,000, the rectangular two-story frame keeper's dwelling was enlarged in 1894 to 28' x 48'. A 37-foot high attached tower is topped by a 10-sided cast iron lantern housing Fourth-Order Fresnel lens with flash panels manufactured by Barbier & Fenestre. The lens was removed 1996 and was planned to be put on displayed at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The light is 52-feet above lake level and visible for 27.5 miles. Automated in 1983, it was last manned station on east shore of Lake Michigan and had been manned for over 106 years. A fog signal building and round, steel oil house survive at the site. The buildings are all painted white, with the traditional U.S. Coast Guard red roofs.

Located adjacent to the light station are the remains of an abandoned U. S. Life Saving Service station, including a two-story station with a watch tower on top.

The light station is open to the public. Located 5-6 miles north of Frankfort, Michigan at the west end of Point Betsie Road, off M-22.

2011 Update
Point Betsie’s 4th Order Fresnel lens (not the original 1858 lens, but a replacement that was in the tower and functioning for nearly 100 years) was in fact taken from the tower in 1996 and replaced by a Vega VRB-25. The Fresnel lens was crated and stored at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, but not displayed there. In 2010, the archival lens was returned to Point Betsie by the U.S. Coast Guard for display on the first floor of the lighthouse.

The lighthouse and other historic station buildings have been completely rehabilitated and are open for tours on weekends from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.


Click on images to enlarge

Photograph by John Meyland

2009 photo by Tim Rimatzki

2007 Photos by Wayne Sapulski

Location: Frankfort, Michigan
Date Built: 1858
Active: Yes

Open to

Yes. www.pointbetsie.org
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