Spectacle Reef Light
By Dave Wobser

The light was built in northern Lake Huron about 11 miles east of the Straits of Mackinac to warn of a pair of reefs that are only 7-11 feet below the water’s surface. On navigation charts, the reefs appear similar to a pair of spectacles, hence the name.

Completed in 1874, after four years of work and at a cost of $406,000 the light was the most expensive ever built on the Great Lakes at the time.

A 95-foot conical limestone tower atop a concrete crib with 20' thick walls to protect the structure from ice. The tower built of limestone quarried in Marblehead, Ohio and brought to the site. A small white building is attached to the base of the tower.

The station design and construction was supervised by Major Orlando M. Poe (Poe Lock namesake) and Major Godfrey Weitzel (Weitzel Lock namesake), of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The station is an early example of exposed crib construction.

First lighted on June 1, 1874, the light was automated in the early 1970's and is now solar powered.

The Second Order Fresnel lens was removed in 1982, and is displayed at the Great Lakes Historical Society Museum in Vermillion, Ohio.

The only way to see this light is by private boat.

Click on image to enlarge

Photograph by Dave Wobser

2008 view by Dan Vernier

Location: Cheboygan, Michigan
Date Built: 1874
Active: Yes

Open to

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