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Fourteen Foot Shoal Light facts for kids

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Fourteen Foot Shoal Light
Fourteen Foot Shoal Light - Cheboygan Michigan.jpg
The light in 2001 (note the solar panels that provide the current power)
Fourteen Foot Shoal Light is located in Michigan
Fourteen Foot Shoal Light
Fourteen Foot Shoal Light
Location in Michigan
Location Lake Huron, Michigan
Coordinates 45°40′47.3″N 84°26′6″W / 45.679806°N 84.43500°W / 45.679806; -84.43500
Year first constructed 1929
Year first lit 1930
Automated 1930
Foundation Concrete Crib
Construction Reinforced concrete and steel
Tower shape square building; frustum of a cone tower
Markings / pattern White with red trim
Height 36 feet (11 m)
Focal height 55 feet (17 m)
Original lens Fourth-order Fresnel lens
Current lens 9.8-inch (250 mm) Tidelands acrylic optic Fresnel lens
Range 9 nautical miles (17 km; 10 mi)
Characteristic 0cculting W 4 seconds

Operates year round.

Fog signal HORN: 1 blast ev 15 s (2s bl) Diaphone
ARLHS number USA-306
USCG number 7-11765

The lighthouse at Fourteen Foot Shoal was named to note that the lake is only 14 feet (4.3 m) deep at this point, which is a hazard to navigation, ships and mariners.

This light is located at the northern end of Lake Huron, Michigan, US, where it is necessary for boats heading to Chicago to pass through a narrow strait and still avoid shallow water. The most common path is to go south of Bois Blanc Island (Michigan). In this channel, the Poe Reef Light marks the northern end of the safe channel and the Fourteen Foot Shoal light marks the southern side of the channel.


Fourteen Foot Shoal Light Michigan
Fourteen Foot Shoal Light ca. 1950

The United States Lighthouse Service intended from the time of design that this light would be automated (possibly the first such instance) and operated by radio control from the nearby Poe Reef Light which is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) away; the keeper's house was never intended to be used as a residence. In 1925 a temporary acetylene buoy was installed there and construction of the permanent light began in 1929 such that the light could begin operation in 1930.

The original light was a fourth-order Fresnel lens. The focal plane is 56 feet (17 m). It now has a 9.8-inch (250 mm) acrylic optic Fresnel lens, and assuming it is properly installed and adjusted, has a maximum visible range of 9 nmi (17 km). A diaphone fog horn is attached.

Current status and getting there

It is in U.S. Coast Guard District 9, and is still an active aid to navigation.

In 2002 the crew of the Cutter USCGC Mackinaw (WAGB-83) painted and refurbished the light.

The light has been added to the National Register of Historic Places; but is not on the state registry, although it was determined to be eligible by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office.

A private boat is, of course, the best way to see this light close up. Short of that, Sheplers Ferry Service out of Mackinaw City offers periodic lighthouse cruises in the summer season. Its "Eastbound Tour" includes passes by Round Island Light, Bois Blanc Island and Light, Poe Reef Light and Fourteen Foot Shoal. Schedules and rates are available from Shepler's. Boat narration is provided by the Great Lakes Lightkeepers Association.

A distant view can be had from the Cheboygan Crib Light and the Cheboygan State Park.

On May 15, 2012, the National Park Service made the light available for ownership transfer under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.

On September 30, 2017, the GSA ended its public auction transferring ownership to the Lake Huron Lighthouse Preservation Society Inc., a Michigan nonprofit organization managed by Jerry Persons and Joseph Niewiek.

  • "A Tour of the Lights of the Straits." Michigan History 70 (Sep/Oct 1986), pp. 17–29.
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