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2 U.P. Lighthouses Are About to Be More Amazing - They’re Both Getting Grants for Preservation Work

Two historic Michigan lighthouses will get help with long-term preservation efforts after receiving $106,000 in Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grants from the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Friday.

The lighthouses receiving grants are the Rock of Ages Lighthouse and the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, both of which are located in the Upper Peninsula. 

“The historic lighthouses lining our freshwater shoreline — the longest in the world — are part of the splendor of Pure Michigan,” said Whitmer. “I am proud that we are making an investment today to preserve these structures, reminding us of our past and encouraging us to move towards the light.”


Michigan’s Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Martha MacFarlane-Faes added, “Michigan’s historic lighthouses endure harsh weather, year after year. These icons on our shorelines require constant maintenance and attention. Our lighthouse preservation grants help repair and restore these beacons so they can connect us with our maritime heritage for years to come.”

Here’s a look at the 2023 MLAP grant recipients:

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Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society

MLAP grant amount: $46,000


Location of nearest city: Windigo, Isle Royale National Park

Historic Resource: Rock of Ages Lighthouse

Match amount: $23,000

Use of funds: The Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society will hire a contractor to rehabilitate the 132-foot-tall lighthouse by cleaning and painting the exterior. Situated on a tiny island of rock three miles off the coast of Isle Royale, Rock of Ages Lighthouse was last painted in 1985. This is the first MLAP grant award to Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society.


“We are very excited to receive this grant from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program,” said Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society Executive Director David Gerth. “Cracking, missing vent covers, and heavy lichen growth on the exterior masonry of Rock of Ages Lighthouse are causing water infiltration that threatens to halt interior restoration efforts. This grant will allow us to hire a contractor to clean, repair, and paint the exterior masonry of the tower ensuring that interior restoration may continue as scheduled.  This project marks a huge step toward our goal of opening the lighthouse to the public in the future.”

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Keweenaw County Historical Society

MLAP grant amount: $60,000

Location of nearest city: Eagle Harbor


Historic Resource: Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

Match amount: $39,000

Use of funds: The Keweenaw County Historical Society will hire a contractor to rehabilitate the tower of the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse. Proposed work will include replacement of deteriorated brick and selective repointing of the tower, repairing damaged plaster on the tower interior, roof and wall water diversion, and deck and lantern room repair. Since 2000, this is the fifth MLAP grant award to Keweenaw County Historical Society.

The Keweenaw County Historical Society is very appreciative of receiving this grant award, especially since we are a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization,” said Keweenaw County Historical Society President Mel Jones. “This funding will help us preserve and maintain our 150-plus-year-old lighthouse in a manner that is historically correct.”

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