Northern Michigan Events: October may be a summer away, but fans of Great Lakes lighthouses should make their reservations now for this special tour of Lake Michigan's Little Traverse Lighthouse. During the tour docents will bring to life the history of the 127-year-old Little Traverse Lighthouse on Lake Michigan, including the story of Elizabeth Whitney Williams. Williams was the first keeper of the Little Traverse light on Lake Michigan and one of the first women light keepers on the Great Lakes. Visitors will also be invited to enter the tower to see the Fourth Order Fresnel lens, shipped from Paris, which once guided ships into Lake Michigan's Little Traverse Bay. The original 1896 fog bell has been also restored and is thought to be the only operational mechanism of its kind in the United States.
Since the last tour of the Little Traverse Lighthouse was conducted in 2008, several additional renovations to the facility have occurred. The old barn on the grounds has been restored and reconstruction of the original oil house is scheduled to be completed this spring. These changes will restore the complex to the grandeur it enjoyed back in 1898.
“This is a unique opportunity for the public to tour this historic lighthouse,” said Fred Geuder, Lighthouse Tour Chairman. “This site is privately owned and we appreciate the generosity of the Harbor Point Association to allow us to hold this special fundraising event.”
In addition to the tour, the HSAHS is pleased to host Terry Pepper, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA), at a special presentation from 5-7 pm on Friday, September 30 at the Harbor Springs History Museum. Mr. Pepper’s program is titled Wobbleshanks, Skilly, Beavers and Foxes and it will recount the story of the lighthouses along the Straits of Mackinac and the dedicated men and women who gave their all to ensure the safety of those at sea. Priority tickets for the program are available in a tour/program combination ticket.
Tours of the Little Traverse Lighthouse begin at the Harbor Point Gatehouse and are by reservation only. Reservations are limited. Tour reservation forms are available online at the HSAHS website, HarborSpringsHistory.org or by calling the HSAHS office at (231) 526-9771. Tickets to tour the lighthouse are $25, and combination tickets for the Friday evening presentation and Saturday tour may be purchased for $40. All proceeds will support the work of the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society including the Harbor Springs History Museum.