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Point Betsie Lighthouse - Frankfort, Michigan

The Point Betsie Lighthouse is located on the northeast shore of Lake Michigan, in Benzie County in Northern Michigan. Construction on the lighthouse began in 1854 and was completed in 1858, and began service in the shipping season of 1859. To build the lighthouse it cost $5,000. Point Betsie Light marked the entrance to the southern end of the Manitou Passage which was a vital maritime shipping channel.


A year after the lighthouse was placed in service, the station had to be protected from the lake. Over the years, various measures were used to keep Lake Michigan at bay. Displacement of the sand around the lighthouse led to the need to replace some of the tower’s foundation in 1869.


In 1873, concrete was poured to protect the lighthouse and was placed beneath the tower to provide a secure foundation. A 240-foot retaining wall was also built along the shore in front of the lighthouse in 1890.


A lifesaving station was completed just south of Point Betsie Lighthouse, in 1876, to help mariners who found themselves in trouble in Manitou Passage.


In 1912, a 10 inch chime whistle replaced the steam fog signal plant at Point Betsie. The following year, the illumination for the light was changed to incandescent oil vapor, increasing the intensity of the light to 55,000 candlepower. The station was electrified in 1921, allowing a type “G” diaphone to be used. In 1948, the fog signal was changed to a two-toned diaphone. The fog signal was discontinued in late 1973 or early 1974.



On June 5, 2004, title to the lighthouse was transferred from the Coast Guard to Benzie County. The county, in turn, immediately leased the property to The Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse. In 2008, the group restored the fog signal building and then began restoring the interior of the lighthouse.


Today the light remains in use by the U.S. Coast Guard to aid in navigation.


For more information on the lighthouse, visit them online at: https://pointbetsie.org/


Located at: 3701 Point Betsie Rd Frankfort, MI 49635



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