Fort Gratiot Lighthouse - Port Huron

Light Station Port Huron Michigan - www.phmuseum.org

 

lighthouseFort Gratiot was established in 1814 to guard the juncture of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River. As commercial shipping and other water traffic grew in the early 1800's, Congress approved funds to build the first lighthouse in Michigan, the second on the entire Great Lakes.

The original structure was built near where the first Blue Water Bridge stands today. Things didn't go well for this first lighthouse. The location was not good and the construction techniques employed were not much better. In 1828 cracks began to appear in the walls and the tower began to sag. During a violent storm in September of that year, the tower sustained additional damage and the whole thing collapsed in November.

Construction on a new lighthouse began almost immediately. By 1861 a tower more than 80 feet tall and 25 feet in diameter was completed. The construction techniques employed were much better. The new tower even survived the devastating storms of 1913. A protective retaining wall was added and the lighthouse was ready to grow into the full light station that exists today. The light is fully automated flashing every 15 seconds with a range of 16 miles. The Lighthouse and station are part of the Port Huron Museum complex. Programs are offered explaining wave action, the science of the light featuring the prism of the Fresnel lens, and a hands on description of the day to day activities of the early lighthouse keepers.