Donate to Preserve Lighthouses

Donate to Preserve Lighthouses

In the time before GPS and modern electronics, ships making way on Lake Michigan ran aground, became lost and at times lives were lost. The U.S. Federal Government paid for the building of lighthouses to help guide mariners on their way. Interestingly, each lighthouse signals a lot of information.

Each light has its own unique sequence of flashes, like Morse Code. The USCG Light List tells you what color of light, the range of the light, and the unique sequence of flashes. From this information, you can figure out where you are. Unless there is fog.  Then the USCG Light List provides the sequence that the fog horn on the structure sounds, if equipped, so again you can figure out where you are.

But alas, today GPS gives locations affordably and reliably and mariners don’t pay much attention to the lighthouses for navigation anymore. With this, the USCG has reduced the power of the lights on many lighthouses, and have turned over some of them to charitable groups who maintain them today.

These lighthouses need your help in order to maintain these lighthouses.  Charities have been set up to carry these lighthouses on to the future. I’m sure most, if not all, would also accept your strong arms and back to help chip in on the work of restoration. If this sounds like you at all, write them a check and help them out, or give them a call!

lake_michigan_circle_tour_signAnd if you haven’t been to many or any of these maritime museums, take the Lake Michigan Circle Tour, and make it worth your while and learn more about Lake Michigan along the way.




Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society, Inc., Maintaining the history and facility of the Cana Island Lighthouse.

EagleBluffLighthouseEagle Bluff Lighthouse Museum / Door County Historical Society, Peninsula State Park, Door County.

Grassy Island Range Lights Inc., Green Bay.  Ownership of these were transferred from the government and moved off Grassy Island onto the shore by Green Bay Yacht Club in 1998 and went through a $400,000 restoration completed in 2005.

Grassy Island Range Lights Inc.
PO Box 485
Green Bay, WI 54305-0485


Friends of the Windpoint Lighthouse Ltd., Racine.

There are government owned and maintained Lighthouses as well.


There are government owned and maintained lighthouses as well.



Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, Mackinaw City. Left to right upper row – Restoring McGulpin Point (Straights of Mackinaw) and St. Helena (Straights of Mackinaw), Left to right lower row – Round Island (Straights of Mackinaw) and St. James (Beaver Island) Lighthouses.

Seul_Choix-LightSeul Choix Lighthouse Museum, Manistique. The Haunted Lighthouse. This is maintained by the charity “Gulliver Historical Society” in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society
, Mackinaw City.
Footnote – this is my favorite lighthouse of all time.  It once marked a channel dynamited by the government for ships to pass through.  Winters were tough on this passage, causing ice to move boulders as big as houses back into the channel.  Then the government would have to dynamite this passage open again in the spring.  Later this channel was abandoned in favor of the nearby Gray’s Reef Passage that wasn’t as prone to being filled in and in need of annual maintenance.

There is something eye catching of this lighthouse that was abandoned (now being restored).  I have only seen it in its dilapidated shape over the 50 years I have gone by it.  Its beauty, its mystery, and its steel frame dome is gorgeous.  If you ever attempt to go near this light, there are two types of boats who have – those that have run aground, and those who are about to!


Fox Island Lighthouse Association, Traverse City.

GrTraverselightManistee County Historical Museum,

Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum, Northport.

PtBetsieMuskegon Lights,
Muskegon, MI


Friends of Point Betsies Lighthouse Inc., Frankfort.
Footnote – This is my second favorite lighthouse.  As we race from Chicago to Mackinac Island each year, if you follow a straight line from Chicago, the first point sticking out in the Lake is Point Betsie.  The winds don’t always carry us past her.  She also is a good looker, and one can sail very close to the shore and wave to the people visiting this lighthouse.

Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association, Ludington. Includes (left to right upper row) Big Sable, Little Sable, (left to right lower row) Ludington North Breakwater and White River Lighthouses.

Holland Harbor Lighthouse Historical Commission, Macatawa.
PO Box 13
Macatawa, MI 49434


Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy, Grand Haven.

There are government owned and maintained lighthouses as well.

South Haven Light,
South Haven

Lighthouse Forever Fund,
St. Joseph, MI



Michigan City Historical Society Incorporated Old Lighthouse Museum, Michigan City.

There are government owned and maintained lighthouses as well.

Give freely to these organizations, open your checkbook, or go online and submit a donation electronically.  Your money will go to preserve these structures for future generations to see, explore and understand.

As with making any donations, it is always advisable to work with your tax adviser.  Some do-it-yourselfers use Guide Star to see the IRS-990 tax returns and other information on a charity before donating.  At the time of this publishing, the charities above are listed on the IRS charitable list.

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