America is filled with hidden treasures. One of those gems can be found at the end of an adventurous drive along Luce County Road CR-412, which has been described as nothing more than a groomed sand trail. As you progress along, the trail becomes progressively narrower and increasingly twisty. In fact, one almost wants to turn around but there is no room to leave the path. And at the end of this desolate drive, you arrive at a sandy beach that beckons you to walk toward the light.
The light is Crisp Point Light Station. In 1876 Crisp Point was originally the site of the Life Saving Station Number Ten, one of four that were put into operation that year located along the south shore of Lake Superior, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It was named after one of the station’s keepers, Christopher Crisp. In 1903 the white 58’ conical lighthouse was constructed and in 1904 it became operational.
Through the years, the lighthouse and life-saving station has undergone massive damage due the erosion of Lake Superior’s shoreline. In 1965 the US Coast Guard destroyed all remaining Life Saving and Lighthouse Station buildings leaving only the lighthouse and its attached Service building. During a fierce November 1996 storm, the attached service building was lost due to this erosion. Also, along this area, known as “the Shipwreck Coast’, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a violent November 10, 1975 storm about 17 miles northeast of Crisp Point.
In an effort to preserve this amazing light, the Crisp Point Light Historical Society was formed in 1992 to save, restore and operate the lighthouse. Under the Societies direction, they have implemented extensive erosion control, rebuilt the lighthouse’s service building and rebuilt a new visitor’s center. With these and many other restoration projects, the lighthouse is returning to pristine condition.
The Crisp Point Lighthouse will continue to shine for generations to come with continued support from society members and the general public. Each year, Historical Society volunteers sign up to be ‘keepers’ at the lighthouse from mid-May through the middle of October. These keepers open the lighthouse and visitor’s center daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. although some keepers will keep the tower and visitor’s center open longer for late arrivals.
The solitude, tranquility felt at the light is irreplaceable as you stand memorized by the waves rolling into the shoreline. We thank the passionate stewards who keep watch and preserve the best of America – and we are grateful to be part of their rebuilding process.
Keeping Watch. Pat