National Lakeshore Partners Instrumental in Relighting South Manitou Island Lighthouse

The light shines from the replica fresnel lens.
The light shines inside the replica fresnel lens.    /        The Fresnel lens from the tower walkway.


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News Release Date: May 7, 2009

Contact: Lisa Myers, 231-326-5134

On Saturday, May 30, 2009, the National Park Service (NPS) invites you to officially celebrate the relighting of the South Manitou Island Lighthouse. Thanks to a partnership with Manitou Islands Memorial Society, Manitou Island Transit, and Electro-Optics Technology, Inc., Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore installed a replica third-order Fresnel lens in the completely refurbished lantern room of the lighthouse last fall. Although the light was tested at that time, it was too late in the season to host a formal ceremony.

Starting at 9:00 p.m. at the Maritime Museum in Glen Haven, a National Park Service ranger will present a half-hour interpretive program about the history of the Manitou Passage, and the shipwrecks that made it necessary to install a lighthouse to guide mariners through its hazardous waters. Following the program, Superintendent Dusty Shultz and representatives from the partner groups will provide brief remarks and recognize the numerous donors who made this project a reality. Light refreshments will be served and, once it becomes dark enough, the light will be illuminated for everyone on shore to see and enjoy.  

Lighting the South Manitou Island Lighthouse was a NPS Centennial Initiative project. The Centennial Initiative is a 10-year program to reinvigorate America’s national parks by 2016, the hundredth anniversary of the National Park Service, and requires that all federal funds be matched with private donations. Superintendent Shultz praised the efforts, saying, “The South Manitou Island Light project was a success because of strong partnerships and commitments from private donors. Thanks to our generous supporters, the South Manitou light will shine on the horizon from May through October, and visitors to the island will be able to view the replica lens and lantern room and better appreciate all the work accomplished on this project.”

The replica third-order Fresnel lens was fabricated by Artworks Florida, and the lens is illuminated by a lighting source with a low-wattage bulb designed by Electro-Optics Technology, Inc. of Traverse City. A crew of NPS maintenance personnel restored the lantern room and spiral stairway of the tower during the summer of 2008, and installed the lens and light in the fall. The entire project cost $93,000 and was split equally between the National Park Service and private donations to the Manitou Islands Memorial Society, along with donated time and materials furnished by Electro-Optics Technology, Inc.

The Maritime Museum at Sleeping Bear Point is located on Glen Haven Road one half mile west of the Cannery in Glen Haven, an historic village located three miles west of Glen Arbor.

For more information on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, call 231-326-5134.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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