Preserving our Lighthouses
The Lighthouses of Presque Isle guided the mariners of the past and they continue to inspire us in our own day. So many feel a deep connection to these iconic monuments—they are a legacy that we celebrate locally, and it is our joy to share them with visitors from near and far.
In 2018, Presque Isle Township Museum Society (PITMS) & Presque Isle Township established the Presque Isle Township Lighthouses Restoration Fund. Administered by the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (CFNEM), the fund supports the Township’s efforts to restore and preserve the Old and New Lighthouses and related buildings.
For several years, visitors to the New Lighthouse (1870) noticed the growing vertical cracks extending from the corners of the tower windows. The Presque Isle Township administration, which owns and takes great care to maintain the lighthouses, commissioned an engineering firm with experience in historical buildings, Sanders & Czapski Associates of Marquette, to examine the lighthouse tower.
The firm found no evidence of damage to the inner wall or the structural integrity of the tower. But excess moisture had caused the bricks to crack. Late this summer, the Township hired Meridian Restoration of Alpena to bring in a 125-foot-high lift, repair the lintels above and below the tower windows, replace the cracked bricks, and repaint the affected area. This essential work went well as the cracked bricks were replaced in advance of winter to prevent future damage. According to Matt Bedard, Township Facilities and Project Manager, although the interior and exterior walls of the 1870 tower will continue to be monitored closely, the repair will prevent any further water intrusion that could cause damage to the inner wall or structural integrity.
Funds to repair the 1870 tower were drawn from the Presque Isle Township Lighthouses Restoration Fund at CFNEM, the Lighthouse Gift Shop Committee Fund, and the Township’s Facilities Budget. To reduce costs, bricks that had been retained from the 1988 rebricking of the tower were reused for the recent repair.
1905 Keeper’s House
Although repairs on the New Lighthouse took priority this season, there are additional facility repairs that need to be addressed. Critical repairs are needed to the 1905 Keeper’s House. The dormer windows on the east side (above the front porch) were damaged during the winter of 2019-20 and must be replaced to protect the historical contents of the museum. The front porch of the house has been deteriorating rapidly (despite numerous attempts to patch and repaint rotting areas) and must be replaced.
The Township and Presque Isle Township Museum Society (PITMS) are participating in GivingTuesday on November 29 through CFNEM’s #GivingTuesdayNEMI campaign at CFNEM.org to raise funds for these repairs to the 1905 Keeper’s House.
We hope that the enduring beauty and history of the Presque Isle Lighthouses and the restored 1905 Keeper’s House will inspire you to contribute to the Presque Isle Township Museum Society on November 29. To make a tax-deductible donation:
- Make an online donation at CFNEM.org from 12:00 am to 11:59 pm on November 29.
- Write a check made out to CFNEM, with “PITMS” in the memo line.
- Drop the check off at Township Hall (12653 East Grand Lake Road) between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm (Mon-Thurs) on November 29.
- Mail the check to arrive by November 29 to: PITMS, PO Box 208, Presque Isle, MI 49777.
Lighthouse Restoration Fund donations are accepted throughout the year, not just on GivingTuesday. We encourage you to make a donation to the Lighthouses Restoration Fund by going to http://bit.ly/savepilights or mailing your check to PITMS, PO Box 208, Presque Isle, MI 49777
As GivingTuesday approaches, the PITMS Board of Directors is grateful to the businesses that have already contributed to the Lighthouses Restoration Fund. They’ve done so to encourage other members of the community to donate as well. Please thank them for their commitment to preserving our lighthouses by giving them your business!
Lead Business Donors