East Tawas in Iosco County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Tawas Point Light Station
Registered Michigan Historic Site
In 1850 the U.S. Lighthouse Service commissioned a light station to safely guide ships into Tawas Bay. The first light station was built in 1852 at the end of Tawas Point, then known as Ottawa Point. The prisms of its fifth-order Fresnel lens magnified the light, making it visible to mariners up to ten miles away. Keepers lived on-site to maintain the station and refuel the light using lard oil. By 1873 shifting sands had extended the point far from the first light, rendering it ineffective. It was replaced in 1876 with this sixty-seven foot tower, built on a shoal at the point’s end and protected by rock-filled timber cribs. A life-saving station was built nearby. The lens was replaced in 1892 with a larger, fourth-order Fresnel lens, which increased the light’s range to sixteen miles.
By 1885 kerosene had become the main fuel source for U.S. lighthouses. The Tawas Point Light Station added its small brick fuel storage building in 1898 and a steam-powered fog signal at the end of the point in 1899. In 1921 a two-story “double dwelling” was moved here from the Ecorse Light Station to provide more staff housing. It
Erected 2017 by Michigan Historical Commission - Michigan History Center. (Marker Number L2294.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Communications • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Lighthouses, and the Michigan Historical Commission series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1850.
Location. 44° 15.24′ N, 83° 26.958′ W. Marker is in East Tawas, Michigan, in Iosco County. Marker can be reached from Tawas Beach Road 3˝ miles east of U.S. 23. Marker is located inside Tawas Point State Park, at the end of Tawas Beach Road, in the grassy area northeast of the lighthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 686 Tawas Beach Road, East Tawas MI 48730, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Double Dwelling (here, next to this marker); A New Light on the Horizon (a few steps from this marker); Preserving the Light The Changing Shape of Tawas Point (within shouting distance of this marker); Tawas Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Oil House (within shouting distance of this marker); Konotin-Iosco (approx. 3˝ miles away); Alabaster (approx. 6.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in East Tawas.
More about this marker. This is a double-sided marker, with the same title but a different inscription on each side.
Regarding Tawas Point Light Station. National Register of Historic Places (1984)
Also see . . .
1. Tawas Point Lighthouse Historical Marker Dedication. The lighthouse, which was decommissioned by the U. S. Coast Guard in 2016, was celebrated on the new marker, which outlined the history of the facility from its inception in 1852, to the relocation in 1876 due to shifting sands, to the installation of a new lens in 1892 “which increased the light’s range to sixteen miles,” forward to the electrification of the lighthouse in 1935, its automation in 1953, and the ultimate cessation of its service. A modern optic further out on the point now fulfills the role that the Tawas Point Lighthouse performed for more than 160 years. (Submitted on July 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Tawas Point Lighthouse. On September 28, 1850, Congress appropriated $5,000 for a lighthouse at Ottawa Point, and work on the thirty-acre site commenced in 1852, after it had been acquired from Daniel S. Ellethorpe for $200. A forty-five-foot-tall, rubblestone tower, which tapered from a diameter of twelve feet at its base to six feet, four inches at its octagonal cast-iron lantern room, was completed that year and, at the opening of navigation in 1853, started displaying a fixed white light produced by seven lamps set in fourteen-inch reflectors. In 1856, a fifth-order Fresnel lens replaced the array of lamps and reflectors, and the characteristic of the light was changed to fixed white varied every ninety seconds by a red flash. (Submitted on July 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Tawas Point Light. It was originally known as Ottawa Point. The name was officially changed to Tawas Point in 1902. The point is a substantial hazard to navigation. Additionally, because it is tucked behind the point, Tawas Bay is an ideal shelter from storms, wind and waves out of the north and northeast. The point juts out into Lake Huron, and has been getting much larger over time. A map is available, which shows the (Submitted on July 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 24, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 202 times since then and 6 times this year. Last updated on October 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photos: 1. submitted on July 24, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.