White Shoal Light
By Dave Wobser

Located in northern Lake Michigan, 20 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge, this 121-foot light marks a hazardous area in this part of Lake Michigan.

The light was built in 1910 to replace Lightship No. 56 that had marked the shoal since 1891. Lightship No. 56 was one of the first three lightship stations in Great Lakes. The nearby Waugoshance Shoal Light was abandoned in 1912 after White Shoal Light became operational.

The station is built on a massive concrete base with a small octagonal building. Construction of the light was considered a major engineering feat because of its isolated location. The station contains a fog signal and keepers quarters.  The quarters were used until 1976 when the light was automated.

A distinctive red and white spiral candy cane painted tower with a red parapet is nearly the same size as the lower building. The light is the only red/white barber pole striped station in the United States. The concrete base has a pole and chain fence, and two cranes on the deck.

The red lantern, with diagonal-barred windows, houses a modern 190 MM optic. The original Second Order Fresnel lens is on display at the Whitefish Point Museum. A solar panel provides power to the light.

Like Gray’s Reef, the White Shoal Lighthouse is only visible from a boat.

Click on images to enlarge

Gray's Reef and White Shoal
from the deck of the Joseph L. Block

Photograph by Violet Bostwick

2008 view by Dan Vernier

Location: North west of Waugoshance Island, Michigan
Date Built: 1910
Active: Yes

Open to

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