Squaw Island
By Bernie Hellstrom & Dave Wobser

Squaw Island is the northern-most island of the chain of islands that stretch nearly 70 miles along the east side of northern Lake Michigan. An area of shallow water extends around the island creating hazards to navigation. This area was a greater hazard in the days of sailing vessels when the passage between the island chain and the Michigan shore saw greater vessel traffic.

The light was first established in 1892 and served until 1928, when the Lansing Shoals light was established some 5 miles north of the island.

The two-story red brick keepers dwelling was originally designed to house both the keeper and assistant. The dwelling is one of the more elaborate on the Great Lakes with arched windows, hardwood trim and wainscoting.

The square, matching red brick, tower is set diagonally into the first floor. The tower transitions to an octagonal shape at the second-floor level. The tower supports an octagonal lantern, gallery and walkway. The light was shown through a Fourth Order Fresnel lens with red panels that created a red flash every fifteen seconds.

A fog signal building and barn were part of the original construction of the station. In 1894, the barn was converted to the head keepers dwelling, and the assistant lived in the second floor of the main building. The first floor of the building became a common area.

The station was sold in to private hands in 1963, and remains private today. Vandals have done considerable damage over the years, but some stabilization and restoration has been started in recent years.

Visitors are not welcome to the island, but the lighthouse can be viewed from lighthouse tours offered by the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association and Shepler's Ferry Service out of Mackinaw City.

Click on image to enlarge

Photographs by Bernie Hellstrom


Location: Northeast Lake Michigan
Date Built: 1892
Active: No

Open to

No. Privately owned.


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