Michigan’s remote 1892 Squaw Island Lighthouse recently received a major step forward in saving the historic structure when a work crew, complete with heavy equipment, spent three weeks on the island making a road to the lighthouse, installing a new roof, and cutting down overgrowth that was beginning to overtake the light station.
Squaw Island Lighthouse was discontinued in 1928. Although it was auctioned off to private ownership, it was pretty much abandoned to the elements and frequented by vandals who generally traveled over the ice in the winter months to act like idiots once they got to the lighthouse.
The lighthouse was purchased in 1964 by Pearl Harbor survivor Tom Child who, for a number of years, had lighthouse enthusiast Bernie Hellstrom work on numerous projects to keep the lighthouse from falling into a further state of disrepair.
One of the workmen who were bulldozing an area during this recent renovation accidently discovered what is believed to be the fog bell that was once used at the lighthouse. Fifty years ago, a resident of Beaver Island buried the fog bell so that no one would vandalize or steal it, but the location was no longer known. Interestingly, the man who uncovered the fog bell is the grandson of the man who buried it.
During their work trip to the island, they discovered that the chapel that once stood on the island had collapsed; only the cross that was once affixed to the top front of the structure had survived.
In 2013 the Squaw Island Lighthouse was listed for sale by Caldwell Banker of Indian River, Michigan, with an asking price of $3,200,000. The MLS listing number given was 446153. It is unclear if Tom Child and his family plan to continue with a full restoration. However, once the lighthouse is fully restored, it would make a great bed and breakfast or a unique home for someone with deep pockets.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2017 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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