The Muskegon South Breakwater and South Pierhead lighthouses were transferred through the NLHPA process to the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy (MLC) in the summer of 2010 from the General Services Administration. All of the necessary paperwork and leases with the US Army Corps of Engineers who own the piers the lights sit on were completed in August allowing MLC to officially clear up all outstanding paperwork.
All that remains of the once robust light station today are the two light towers, the 1903 pierhead and the 1931 breakwater although other lighthouses once existed in the harbor area since 1851. The keeper’s residence was razed in the early 1970s to make way for a new US Coast Guard station and a historic 1905 US Life-Saving Station has been converted into a NOAA facility at the base of the pier.
Eventual plans will not only include restoration and rehabilitation of the lights, but to also allow people to be able to climb to the top of the South Pierhead lighthouse for a panoramic view of the scenic stretches of shoreline and the channel. The lighthouses are located next to Muskegon’s Pere Marquette Park and the South Breakwater light is accessed directly from the beach and the South Pierhead light is accessed through the NOAA Lake Michigan Field Station property adjacent to the South Pierhead through a designated pedestrian path painted yellow on the pavement.
Immediate plans call for the establishment of local partnerships in Muskegon with key organizations and we are asking for donations towards the lights preservation at this time. It is estimated that approximately $250,000 will be needed to completely preserve both lighthouses and open the South Pierhead for tours. A replica of a classical Fresnel lens is planned as a finishing touch after rehabilitation and restoration to give the South Pierhead light an authentic historic appearance if given approval through various agencies.
Various rust blooms and metal repairs on the lights need to be done and they must be sealed up from the elements. Both lights will need to be repainted. In the watch room of the pierhead light a hole has developed in the wood floor due to water intrusion and various plaster elements have delaminated off the walls and ceilings. All of the lantern room windows in the top of the tower need to be replaced since they are plastic and have clouded up over time.
If you have any questions about the lights or would like to help give these lights a new beginning for a brighter future, please consider a donation.