Monday, April 29, 2013

Mission Point Lighthouse

Mission Point Lighthouse is located at the tip of Old Mission Peninsula.  The Peninsula itself is the little appendix that is situated between the Leelenau Peninsula and the Main Peninsula.  It is actually a nice little drive as you pass through vineyards and cherry orchards (no Anton Chekov or Gumby though).
The lighthouse is situated in a park.  This tree caught my eye because of all the grafitti on it.  It looks like one chunk dates back to 1975.
The lighthouse itself stands about 200 or so yards away from the 45th Parallel, so I guess that's close enough for government work.  Basically it means that if you are standing there, you are halfway between the Equator and True North Pole (the magnetic North Pole is a different matter).
The lighthouse itself was built in 1870 and was a copy of the Mama Juda lighthouse that was built in 1866 on the Detroit River.  The Mama Juda lighthouse no longer stands.
The tower itself is 36 feet tall but because it stands on top of a hill gives it effective focal plane of 47 feet.  This means that it could be seen 13 miles out.
For 67 years, the lighthouse warned mariners about the shoals in the area.  That is until new construction techniques allowed a lighthouse to be built on one of the shoals itself.

Sadly, the water has retreated quite a bit since the last time I visited this lighthouse.  It still makes for kind of a cool picture.
The lighthouse was deactivated in 1933 and purchased by the State of Michigan.
Another view of that stand of trees.
In 2008, the building was opened to the public for the first time.
But this has always been a popular spot for kayaking.
I decided to take the tour inside the lighthouse.  This would have been the keeper's office.
I'm not sure if this was the original fresnel lens but that is a keeper's uniform.
The view from the tower was pretty impressive.  I think it would have been more so if there had been more water.
I could see some patterns made out of the stones.
Another pattern, but at a pretty oblique angle.
Another view of the lighthouse.
And a view from the back.
This is the Hessler Log Cabin which was built by Joseph and Mary Hessler between 1854 and 1856.  Like many settlers of the era, they were essentially squatters and received citizenship so that they could officially own the land.

As I said, there are a number of vineyards on the peninsula.  I'm half tempted to return in a couple weeks to catch them in bloom.
I imagine it would make for a pretty cool picture.
Looking at the other side of the road.

No comments: