Sunday, July 10, 2011

Open House

Since 2007, an annual Open House has been hosted at the lighthouse each summer. This year Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society and Boy Scout Troop 323 of Freeland, Michigan hosted visitors this past Saturday.

Just getting there is part of the adventure; leaving from the Coal Dock on Mackinac Island, several people at a time board a small charter boat and step two involves transferring to small rubber dinghies (you will get wet!) that are able to land on the rocky shore.

Round Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1895 at a cost of $15,000 by Frank Rounds, a carpenter from Detroit. Rounds had previously worked on Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel, which was completed in 1887. The lighthouse was first lit on May 15th, 1896. It was commissioned under the U.S. Lighthouse Board, which became the United States Lighthouse Service in 1910. When it was first completed, the lighthouse was brick red. This would remain so until it was painted red and white in 1924.

The beacon was automated in 1924 and became the responsibility of the United States Coast Guard in 1939, when the Coast Guard took over all of the nation's lighthouses. To support World War II efforts, most of the original machinery on the first floor was removed for scrap.

The long years it has been unoccupied have taken their toll, and the former living quarters now show a certain faded beauty.

At one time, the woodwork must have been beautiful.

This "modern" shower is barely 6" tall and a couple feet wide, but I'm sure it was a most appreciated addition at the time.

Many of the windows now have metal shutters, protection from the weather and vandals, but imagine the view this bedroom once featured!

More woodwork:

The ladder up to the tower:

The views are certainly worth the climb!

Getting home meant reversing the loading - dinghy to boat to dock - and by then the wind had come up and it was clouding over, making for a chilly ride.

Many thanks to Boy Scout Troop 323 and all the other volunteers who work so hard, both in running this open house and all their efforts to preserve this gorgeous light.


  1. Wow that was great, I enjoyed viewing the pictures and learning about the history of Round Island's lighthouse. I have always had a fancy for lighthouses.

  2. The lighthouse is simply beautiful.