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n3kl.org
Case # 046 - Historic Michigan Lighthouse

This Lighthouse is located in Cheboygan, Michigan. We will be investigating on October 27th, 2012. Check back after that date for the information and evidence.

Cheboygan River Front Range Light


In 1870 Cheboygan had a population of approximately 800 and a growing number of lumber mills along the shores of the Cheboygan River. The Army Corps of Engineers conducted their first survey of the Cheboygan River that year to evaluate the possibility of improving navigation within the river. Determining that the channel could be enlarged to a width of 200 feet and a depth of 14 feet, Congress responded to the Army Corps of Engineers recommendation with an appropriation of $160,000 to begin the improvement the following year. After dredging the river to the required depths, a free-standing "dummy" crib was placed to mark the outer end of the channel.

Anticipating an increase in vessel traffic entering the improved harbor, Congress responded to the Lighthouse Board’s request for funds with an appropriation of $10,000 for the construction of a set of range lights in the river in July 1876. However, with the Corps of Engineers improvements still in progress, work on the range lights did not begin until 1880, four years later.

The Front Range light was designed as a combination tower and keepers dwelling. The rectangular brown-painted, two-story wood frame building stood some twenty-four by twenty-seven and a half feet in plan. Its integral wooden tower, six feet two inches square, was located at the apex of the north end of the gabled roof. Since range lights are designed to be seen from within a narrow arc of visibility, a wooden lantern, rather than the normal cast-iron multi-sided lantern in general use at the time, was constructed on the tower gallery. The light was equipped with a fixed red Sixth Order Fresnel lens manufactured by Henry-Lepaute of Paris. It was displayed through a single rectangular window on the north side of the lantern where it would be visible to vessels in the Straits off the mouth of the river.

The ranges were established just in time because Cheboygan was in its heyday in the early 1880s. The eight huge mills on the banks of the river shipped 127 million board feet of lumber, and the town's population had exploded to 6,956. The town was growing rapidly and the Front Range light, being located a mere block from downtown, was able to share in the conveniences of its location.

Read the full history from GLLKA's website here.


Deaths / Claims

From GLLKA member.. "A keepers son died in the lighthouse from Polio, and at least one lighthouse keepers was laid in state in the building. The wife of the last Office in Charge during the Coast Guard era also claims she was visited by an apparition of a man in a Sou-wester who informed her that everything was alright when her husband was working at an offshore light one night."



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