Peninsula Point Lighthouse & Picnic Area
PENINSULA POINT LIGHTHOUSE AND PICNIC AREA
The 40 ft. lighthouse tower is an easy climb on a circular staircase to a beautiful view from the platform at the top. The spectacular panorama of lake Michigan is unparalleled. Be sure to bring you camera.
The rocky shoreline yields fossils estimated at 400-500 million years old. In the fall, thousands of monarch butterflies converge on the area to rest before their migration across Green Bay.
To reach the Peninsula Point Lighthouse and Picnic Area from Rapid River, go east on US-2 to the Stonington exit. Follow County Road 513 and Forest Road 2204 for 19 miles to the parking lot. The last mile of road is not recommended for recreational vehicles or trailers over 16 feet long or 8 feet high. A parking area for RV’s is available at the beginning of the narrow, winding final mile of road.
Congress appropriated funds for the building of a lighthouse on the Stonington Peninsula on July 20, 1864. This marked the beginning of an era of lighthouse history that well over a hundred years later can still add fuel to the fires of imagination. The wooden sailing ships needed navigational help to keep their hulls from being torn open on the treacherous shoals of the channels leading to safety at the docks of Escanaba and Gladstone, Fayette and Nahma. There were busy ports transporting fish, lumber, iron ore and other products. The shipping industry was growing at a rapid rate.
The U.S. Government recognized the need for a lighthouse on the peninsula to aid navigation around these dangerous shoals and reefs separating Big Bay de Noc, Little Bay de Noc, and Green Bay of Lake Michigan.
The Michigan historical lighthouse at Peninsula Point was completed in 1865, and the lantern was lighted for the first time. The building consisted of a 40 ft. tall light tower with a beacon lit by an oil lamp and reflectors. Attached to the north side of the tower was a 1-1/2 story brick home for the and his family.
The first lighthouse keeper was Mr. Charles Beggs, who died there in 1887. The second, Mr. Henry Corgan, and the third, Mr. Peter Knutsen. In 1889 Captain James D. Armstrong was appointed keeper and this was home to him and his family until 1922. At this time an automatic acetylene light replace the hand operated oil lamp ant it was no longer necessary to occupy the site. However, Captain Armstrong continued to be responsible for Peninsula Point until 1931.
The light went out for the last time in 1936. In 1937, the USDA-Forest Service was granted custodianship, repairs were made to the buildings, and public picnic grounds were constructed by the Civilian conservation Corps.
The Stonington Grange took over the maintenance of the structure and grounds and in 1949 won first prize in their State contest for their work at the Michigan historical lighthouse.
The house portion burned to the ground in 1959. The debris was cleared and the damage to the north side of the tower repaired in 1962 by the USDA Forest Service.
The USDA Forest Service operates the grounds as a picnic area, with 10 tables and grills on the lawns surrounding the tower. Pit toilets are available, as well as drinking water.