Waugoshance Shoal Light
By Dave Wobser

Built in 1851 to replace a wooden lightship that had served since 1832, to mark a dangerous shallow area of northern Lake Michigan in the approach to the Straits of Mackinac.

The station sits on a wooden crib that was sunk and filled with stone. The crib structure was the first major crib built for a lighthouse on the Great Lakes. The crib was rebuilt with massive limestone blocks in 1867-70.  A conical brick tower sits above the burned out shell of a round 2-story dwelling. The tower was encased in iron plates to protect the deteriorating bricks, but the iron work has fallen into Lake Michigan over the years.

Abandoned in 1912 the light was replaced by White Shoal and Grays Reef Lights. The structure was used for artillery practice during World War II, it is amazing that anything remains.. Tower is capped by the black "bird cage" skeleton of the lantern. This style of lantern is rare, having been replaced by the more familiar rectangular windows in the 1860's. The lantern originally held a Fourth Order Fresnel lens.

This long abandoned light is only viewable by boat. The Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society is working to restore the light station.

Click on image to enlarge

Photograph by Dave Wobser

Location: North west of Waugoshance Island, Michigan
Date Built: 1851
Active: No

Open to


Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society www.waugoshance.org

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