Mission Point Light
Mission Point Light in October 2020
|Location||Peninsula Township, Michigan|
|Coordinates||Coordinates: |
|Year first constructed||1870|
|Year first lit||1870|
|Tower shape||Square tower on dwelling|
|Markings / pattern||White with black trim|
|Tower height||36 feet (11 m)|
|Focal height||47 feet (14 m)|
|Original lens||Fifth order Fresnel lens|
|Range||8.7 nautical miles; 16 kilometres (10 mi)|
|Characteristic||Flashing W 6 seconds.|
|Designated||October 15, 1992|
Mission Point Light is a lighthouse located in the U.S. state of Michigan at the end of Old Mission Point, a peninsula jutting into Grand Traverse Bay 17 miles (27 km) north of Traverse City. When it was built in 1870, it was an exact copy of the Mama Juda Light (now destroyed), which was built on the Detroit River in 1866.
The foundation is natural and emplaced. The wooden structure is painted white with black trim. The square tower is attached to a dwelling.
A fixed white Fifth Order Fresnel lens was installed. The building was only one and one half stories tall. However, its placement on a sand bank 14 feet above the lake's surface created a lens focal plane of 47 feet (14 m). It was visible from 13 miles (21 km) at sea. Maintaining the dune and protecting it and the lighthouse from the deleterious effects of wave action has been a constant struggle.
For 67 years the light served to warn mariners about the shoals off the point. However, new techniques in offshore construction and the automation of lighthouse illumination made it possible to build a navigation aid on the shoal itself. In 1938, work began on a pier for the new light in 19 feet (5.8 m) of water, about 2 miles (3.2 km) northwest of Mission Point. The light ran on batteries. It was on a 36-foot (11 m) tall tower, and its focal plane of 52 feet (16 m) help make it visible for 13 miles (21 km). It had a 30-second dwell time between flashes, in order to conserve power.
Famously, the lighthouse stands a few hundred yards south of the 45th parallel north, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. The lighthouse was deactivated in 1933 and purchased by the State of Michigan. There are a pair of signs that denote its location on the parallel, and it is one of 29 places (six are in Michigan) in the U.S.A. where such signs are known to exist.
Current status and activities
As reported in the Traverse City Record Eagle, in a unique program, the lighthouse society sought volunteers to work and live in the Mission Point Light during 2008. There is a fee, which will benefit the light.
The area around the lighthouse attracts many cross country skiers. There is a boat launch there, which is favored by sea kayakers. The location is becoming increasingly popular, which has subjected it to environmental issues that are being addressed by Peninsula Township.
The Old Mission Peninsula is said to be a premier place to sea kayak. One gets close to shore, lighthouse, picnic grounds and parks. The bay offers a shelter from the prevailing westerly winds and from the Lake Michigan waves. Maps, rentals and guided tours are available.
- Light List, Volume VII, Great Lakes (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard.
- Lighthouse depot, Mama Juda Light.
- Biggs, Jerry, Mission to Mama, Lighthouse Digest, 10/2000.
- NPS Inventory of Historic Light Stations.
- Terry Pepper, Mission Point lighthouse at Seeing the Light.
- Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of the United States: Michigan's Western Lower Peninsula". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Photographs, Old Mission 45th Parallel signs.
- List and map of 45th Parallel markers, with links to pictures (accessed 2007-12-17).
- M-37 Endpoint Photos. Archived 2013-05-29 at the Wayback Machine
- Lighthouse directory, Mission Point volunteer story.[permanent dead link]
- Wood TV 8, Lighthouse to open to public, caretakers wanted.[permanent dead link]
- "Peninsula Township Parks". Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-05-04.
- Sea kayaking Archived 2012-07-29 at the Wayback Machine
- Mulgrew, Marilyn, Drawing of MIssion Point Light. Archived 2007-08-28 at the Wayback Machine
- Needlepoint of MIssion Point Light.[permanent dead link]
- Bibliography on Michigan lighthouses.
- Crompton, Samuel Willard & Michael J. Rhein, The Ultimate Book of Lighthouses (2002) ISBN 1-59223-102-0; ISBN 978-1-59223-102-7.
- Hyde, Charles K., and Ann and John Mahan. The Northern Lights: Lighthouses of the Upper Great Lakes. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8143-2554-8 ISBN 978-0-8143-2554-4.
- Jones, Ray & Bruce Roberts, American Lighthouses (Globe Pequot, September 1, 1998, 1st Ed.) ISBN 0-7627-0324-5; ISBN 978-0-7627-0324-1.
- Jones, Ray,The Lighthouse Encyclopedia, The Definitive Reference (Globe Pequot, January 1, 2004, 1st ed.) ISBN 0-7627-2735-7; ISBN 978-0-7627-2735-3.
- Noble, Dennis, Lighthouses & Keepers: U. S. Lighthouse Service and Its Legacy (Annapolis: U. S. Naval Institute Press, 1997). ISBN 1-55750-638-8; ISBN 978-1-55750-638-2.
- Oleszewski, Wes, Great Lakes Lighthouses, American and Canadian: A Comprehensive Directory/Guide to Great Lakes Lighthouses, (Gwinn, Michigan: Avery Color Studios, Inc., 1998) ISBN 0-932212-98-0.
- Penrod, John, Lighthouses of Michigan, (Berrien Center, Michigan: Penrod/Hiawatha, 1998) ISBN 978-0-942618-78-5 ISBN 978-1-893624-23-8.
- Penrose, Laurie and Bill, A Traveler’s Guide to 116 Michigan Lighthouses (Petoskey, Michigan: Friede Publications, 1999). ISBN 0-923756-03-5 ISBN 978-0-923756-03-1
- Pepper, Terry. "Seeing the Light: Lighthouses on the western Great Lakes".
- Putnam, George R., Lighthouses and Lightships of the United States, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1933).
- United States Coast Guard, Aids to Navigation, (Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1945).
- Scott T. Price. "U. S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation: A Historical Bibliography". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
- Wagner, John L. "Beacons Shining in the Night: The Lighthouses of Michigan". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University.
- Wagner, John L., Michigan Lighthouses: An Aerial Photographic Perspective, (East Lansing, Michigan: John L. Wagner, 1998) ISBN 1-880311-01-1 ISBN 978-1-880311-01-1.
- Wargin, Ed, Legends of Light: A Michigan Lighthouse Portfolio (Ann Arbor Media Group, 2006). ISBN 978-1-58726-251-7.
- Wright, Larry and Wright, Patricia, Great Lakes Lighthouses Encyclopedia Hardback (Erin: Boston Mills Press, 2006) ISBN 1-55046-399-3.
This article's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines. (March 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Mission Point Lighthouse - official site
- Aerial photos, Old Mission Point Light, marinas.com.
- Detroit News, Interactive map on Michigan lighthouses.
- Lighthouse Central, Photographs, History, Directions and Way points for Old Mission Point Light, The Ultimate Guide to West Michigan Lighthouses by Jerry Roach (Publisher: Bugs Publishing LLC – 2005). ISBN 0-9747977-0-7.
- Terry Pepper, Mission Point lighthouse at Seeing the Light.
- Article linking Mama Juda Lighthouse with Old Mission Point.
- Interactive map of Lights in Northern Lake Michigan, mapped by Google.
- Interactive map/list/information of lighthouses in northeastern Lake Michigan by LighthousesRus.
- Map of Michigan Lighthouse in PDF Format.
- Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, Old Mission Point Lighthouse.
- National Park Service Maritime Heritage, Inventory of Historic Light Stations.
- "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Michigan". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01. Old Mission Point light.
- Wobser, David, Boatnerd.com Old Mission Point Light.
- Youtube, Mission Point Lighthouse and 45th Parallel.