Manitou Island Light
By Dave Wobser

This skeletal iron tower was erected in 1861 to replace an earlier light that had bee erected in 1850. The present tower and the one at Whitefish Point, which was erected the same year, are the oldest skeletal towers on the Great Lakes.

The square base is 26 feet by 26 feet and 17 feet off the ground. The base supports a cylindrical stairway enclosed that is topped by a ten-sided watch room and lantern room. The stair cylinder is 6 feet in diameter and 42 feet high.

The original Third Order Fresnel Lens, manufactured by Le Paute of Paris, produced a light 81 feet above the lake level. The original lens had six bulls-eye panels and was replaced in 1935. The present Third Order Fresnel has four bulls-eye panels and was built by Barbier & Co., of Paris.

The two-story frame keeper's dwelling is connected to the stair cylinder at the second floor.

2006 Update
The Keweenaw Land Trust received ownership of the light station in 2004, and have been working with architects and engineers to develop a planning guide to stabilization, restoration and maintenance of the station's buildings.

Work scheduled for 2006 includes reworking the security panels on the keeper's dwelling to reestablish functioning windows, improve ventilation and give sunlight a chance to light the interior for the first time in almost 30 years.

The Keweenaw Land Trust can be contacted for additional information at 906-482-0820 or visit their website at

Click on image to enlarge

Photograph by Dave Wobser

Location: Several miles east of the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Date Built: 1861
Active: Yes. Automated

Open to

No. Visible only by boat.


Return to Lighthouses of the Great Lakes Lake Superior Index