Historic Michigan Lighthouses Awarded $100K in Lighthouse Preservation Grants


Two historic Michigan lighthouses have been awarded $100,000 in Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grants from the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to make progress on long-term preservation efforts, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced Thursday.

“Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state, and these beacons stand tall as icons of our shoreline communities. As a result of enduring decades of harsh weather, our lighthouses require constant maintenance and attention,” said Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Officer Mark Rodman. “Our lighthouse preservation grants help repair and restore these beacons, so they can connect us with our maritime heritage for years to come.”

Funding for this program stems from the sale of specialty Save Our Lights license plates, which are available at Michigan Secretary of State Offices.

To date, SHPO has awarded almost $2.8 million in matching funds to help “rehabilitate and preserve lighthouses for tourists and residents alike to explore and appreciate.”

“Thanks to those residents who pay a little extra for a lighthouse license plate, we are able to award grants that help preserve these iconic Michigan structures for the long term,” Rodman stated.

Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association (SPLKA) and the City of Grand Haven were announced as the 2022 MLAP grant recipients.

SPLKA received $40,000 for the Big Sable Point Light Station in Ludington. They will hire a contractor to complete a historic structures report for the Big Sable Point Light Station, which is a fundamental component of preservation planning.

“The Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association is so pleased to receive this MLAP grant to help us achieve a major strategic goal of funding a Historic Structure Report for the Big Sable Point Lighthouse,” said Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association Executive Director Peter Manting. “We are looking forward to working with the State Historic Preservation Office and DNR Parks and Recreation to get this done.”

The City of Grand Haven received $60,000 for the Grand Haven Entrance Lights.

The city will use the funds to hire a contractor to rehabilitate the Grand Haven South Pier Entrance and Inner Lights.

Proposed work includes the following: the repair of the exterior concrete wall and deck surfaces, restoring the exterior concrete stairs, resorting the concrete curb and installing new metal flashing and repainting.

“The South Pier Lights in Grand Haven continue their transformation to among the most well-preserved and accessible lights on the Great Lakes,” Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis.  “The Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy continues its partnership work of raising funds and awareness to make sure these treasures are the best they can be. The grant from the MLAP will supplement funds raised locally and are the next step in a multi-year approach to complete preservation and, soon, opening the lights regularly to public enjoyment.”

To learn more about lighthouse preservation in Michigan, click here.