The Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society has the opportunity to obtain a 2 for 1 match from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program in order to fund the completion of a Historic Structure Report. We need to submit this report to several federal entities before any renovation work can begin on the lighthouse. If we raise $10,000, the State program will double our amount and give us $20,000! The total $30,000, funded by our Indiegogo supporters (you!) and the State, will allow us to pay for the report and then begin renovation on this historic Lake Michigan lighthouse. Please join us in helping to restore Waugoshance!
About the Waugoshance Lighthouse
After a number of groundings in the early 1820s, mariners began petitioning the federal government to construct a navigation aid on Waugoshance Shoal, located off the coast of the northwestern lower peninsula of Michigan. As an interim measure, the wooden vessel Lois McLane, which had been converted into a lightship, was placed on Waugoshance Shoal in 1832, making it the first lighthouse to serve in the Great Lakes.
In 1850, the decision was made to construct a more permanent light on the shoal and work began with the construction of a timber crib on St. Helena Island. The crib was then towed to Waugoshance and sunk in place with the weight of huge boulders. Atop the crib, a brick tower was constructed with a height of seventy-six feet, twenty feet base diameter, and with walls five feet thick. At its completion in 1851, Waugoshance Lighthouse was crowned with a large "bird cage" style lantern room, one of only three lighthouses to be equipped with this style of lantern room in all of the Great Lakes. The lantern was equipped with the first Fourth Order Fresnel Lens to be installed in any Great Lakes lighthouse. Displaying a fixed white light, varied by a white flash every 45 seconds, this impressive French optic was visible to mariners at a distance of sixteen miles.
Waugoshance Lighthouse was deactivated in 1910 when a newer lighthouse was built up the coast at White Shoal. Despite deactivation, the lighthouse remains an important part of Michigan maritime history and is still used for navigation today. In both in its active and inactive state, the lighthouse has been used for 162 years by both commercial vessels and pleasure/sport boaters to mark the entrance to the Straits of Mackinac, signaling the turn into a treacherous area of the GreatLakes. Waugoshance Lighthouse is located at latitude 45.8101 and longitude -85.1324.
About the Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society
In 1998 the Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society (WLPS) was incorporated as a 501(c)3 with the mission to preserve and to restore this historic castle of the Great Lakes. Until recently, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) had only authorized the WLPS to stabilize and clean debris from the structure through a lease agreement, with no restoration work allowed. In 2011, the USCG and the National Park Service (NPS) approved the transfer of ownership of Waugoshance Lighthouse to the WLPS. However, in order to obtain permanent ownership of the lighthouse, and more importantly to begin restoration, the WLPS must secure $10,000 to fund a Historic Structure Report, which is required by the governing entities before restoration can begin.
How You Can Help
Your gift of any amount will help the WLPS pay for the cost of preparing a Historic Structure Report for the federal government. The United States Coast Guard and the National Parks Service require this report before the WLPS can begin any renovation work on the lighthouse. Until now, WLPS has only been able to engage in preserving the status quo. Achieving our $10,000 goal means that we can begin the important work of restoring this state and national treasure to its former glory. Once we reach $10,000, the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program will match us 2-to-1 with an additional $20,000, which will fully fund the report. We ask that you please help to obtain these matching funds so that we can begin to truly save this historic structure.
Thank you for your considering a gift to help preserve and restore Michigan maritime history!
*Thumbnail photo credit: Marge Beaver, Header photo: Mari Vaydik