Grand Haven South Pier
and Pierhead Inner Light
By Dave Wobser

A set of range lights built in 1905 to mark the entrance to the Grand River at Grand Haven, Michigan. The lights are set on a concrete breakwater extending into Lake Michigan on the south side of the river mouth. Because of the early importance of the Grand Haven harbor, a lighthouse was built here as early as 1839

Inner - A red, conical steel plate 51-foot tower fabricated by the American Bridge Company in 1905. The original Sixth Order Lens was given to the City and replaced by a plastic lens. The original Sixth Order lens was given to the City of Grand Haven when a plastic lens was installed.

Pierhead (outer) - is the original fog signal building built in 1875 which was moved to end of breakwater in 1905 after the pier had been extended several times. The red, wood frame structure was sheathed in corrugated iron in 1922.

The story-and-a-half building once housed the boilers to run the fog signal. It has a unique, massive concrete V-shaped front facing Lake Michigan, that is designed to protect the building from the fury of lake storms. This concrete gives the building the appearance of a ship's bow. The octagonal lantern is fitted with a plastic lens.

An elevated catwalk connects the two lights, but now stops short of running all the way to the beach. When the lights were manned by keepers, the catwalk was used to move from the shore in heavy weather.

The concrete breakwater is nice place to walk and fish, except when Lake Michigan is blowing. The buildings are not open to the public on these active aids to navigation. The U.S. Coast Guard Station-Grand Haven is responsible for maintaining this light and 15 lighthouses on the West Michigan lakeshore.

The lights are located at the end of South Harbor Drive in Grand Haven.

Click on image to enlarge

Photograph by John Belliveau

Location: Grand Haven, Michigan
Date Built: 1839, 1905, 1922
Active: Yes

Open to public:

No. Pier only.
Directions: South Harbor Drive. Pier is open to the public. Click here for map
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