11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Michigan's Historic Lighthouses, Exemplified by DeTour Reef Light

Year Listed: 1998
Location: Michigan
Threat: Deterioration, Neglect, Poor Public Policy


Significance

Located a mile offshore at the entrance to the busy Saint Mary's River linking Lake Huron and Lake Superior, this 74-foot steel Classical Revival-style lighthouse has been a fixture on Michigan's Upper Peninsula coastline since 1931. As one of approximately 120 lighthouses in Michigan--the largest collection of these maritime landmarks in the United States--DeTour Reef Light stands as a testament to the importance of shipping in the regions political, economic and social history. However, advances in navigation technology made DeTour Reef Light and its counterparts obsolete and the federal government wanted to dispose of these historic properties. To date the Coast Guard has disposed of nearly 40 Michigan lighthouses, including DeTour Reef Light, which are currently undergoing the complicated disposal process; approximately 40 others are slated for eventual disposal.