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Beaver Island Head Light
Beaver Island Head Light (waterside view)
Beaver Island Head Light is located in Michigan
Beaver Island Head Light
Beaver Island Head Light
Location in Michigan
Location Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, Michigan
Coordinates 45°34′35″N 85°34′21″W / 45.57639°N 85.57250°W / 45.57639; -85.57250
Year first lit 1858
Deactivated 1962
Foundation reinforced concrete
Construction brick
Tower shape cylindrical (attached Victorian lightkeeper house)
Markings / pattern yellow (natural) w/grey lantern and parapet, red roof
Height 46 feet (14 m)
Focal height 103 feet (31 m)
Original lens 14 Lewis lamps and reflectors
Current lens Fourth Order Fresnel lens removed & on display
Range 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)
ARLHS number USA-046

The Beaver Head Light is located high on a bluff on the southern tip of Beaver Island. Boats trying to navigate North on Lake Michigan need to carefully work their way between Beaver Island and Gray's Reef.

The 46-foot (14 m) cylindrical tower was built in 1858, to replace an 1852 tower. The decagonal lantern room offers panoramic vistas of the Lake. The tower is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. though 9:00 p.m. during the summer.

In 1866, the attached yellow brick lighthouse keeper's dwelling was constructed. A frame addition was added to the keepers quarters to accommodate assistant keepers.

In 1915, the 22-by-40-foot (6.7 m × 12.2 m) fog signal building was constructed. Other outbuildings on the grounds including an oil house, garage and storage building and outhouse.

A radio beacon was placed in 1962, at which time the station was decommissioned and declared surplus. That same year, the original Fourth Order Fresnel lens was removed and placed in the dwelling, where it can still be seen.

In 1975, the Charlevoix Public Schools purchased the site for $1.00. After some vandalism was incurred, in 1978 the District founded an alternative school for youth aged 16–21. The school district has operated an Environmental and Vocational Educational Center in the keepers dwelling. Maintenance and restoration of the structure is part of the curriculum. Beginning in 1978, recurrent summer work/study programs greatly restored the station, which was then opened as a school.

In 2003, a grant was obtained to repair spalling of the exterior brick work on the fog signal building. A state grant awarded two years later provided $23,000 for oil house restoration.

The light station is listed on National Register of Historical Places (reference #78001495). It is also on the State List/Inventory.

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U.S. Coast Guard Archive Photo
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