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Northern Michigan in Focus: Spalling at Crisp Point Lighthouse

A lighthouse group is trying to fix a problem before it becomes unmanageable.

In this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus, Corey Adkins is taking you to the remote shore of Lake Superior, where the Crisp Point Lighthouse stands.

“The tower just welcomes you and it just shines. It does everything a lighthouse is supposed to do. It’s definitely a beacon,” says Heather M. Johnson, with the

It’s one of Michigan’s most remote on land lighthouses.

“The energy for me personally is amazing, and it’s just a really nice place to visit. It is a little challenging, like you mentioned, to get there. It’s 18 miles off of M-123 north of Newberry, north of Tahquamenon Falls area.”

And has been standing on the shore of Lake Superior since 1876, facing all the wind, the waves and the weather superior can throw at it. Now the crisp point lighthouse needs help.

“At this point, there are moisture concerns,” Johnson says.

What’s happening to the lighthouse is called “spalling.”

“Because of that the water and the environmental mechanical and chemical erosion that occurs, those bricks are freezing and then when they thaw, they pop,” Johnson says. “And as that freezing and thawing cycle continues, they just keep popping and spalling and that basically means they’re deteriorating.”

So the Crisp Point Lighthouse Preservation Society wanted to get ahead of the problem and applied for and got a grant through Michigan’s Lighthouse Assistance program.

“So the funding will be used to repair place the bricks that have deteriorated as well as replaced the coating on the exterior of the tower. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, so we run our entire organization off of volunteers and off of donations. Any donation is welcome, but we totally enjoy visitors. We have peepers out there during the season. We’ll be opening May 15 and we welcome everyone from all over the world.”

Just the TLC the old light needs to stay standing and shine for another century.

“The sunsets out there are amazing.”

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