Posted by: mlapgrants | July 5, 2018

Gull Rock Light Station Automation

The Gull Rock Light Station was one of the earliest to be automated on Lake Superior.  The light station, located off the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, was built in 1867 and automated in 1913.  The brand new technology that led to its automation was primarily an acetylene illumination system with a sun valve, which allowed the lamp to be automatically turned on at dusk and extinguished after dawn.  The sun valve helped to earn its Swedish inventor, Gustaf Dalen, the 1912 Nobel Prize in Physics. It consisted of four metal rods: three outer polished rods and one central darkened rod.  Daylight caused the central darkened rod to expand at a greater rate, thereby controlling the acetylene flow and turning off the lamp.  Because of this early automation, the station was never equipped with electricity, indoor plumbing, or phone service.

This information on the sun valve was taken from the Historic Structure Report, currently being completed by OX Studio and Smay Trombley Architecture through grants from the National Park Service National Maritime Heritage Program and the State Historic Preservation Office Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program.  Learn more about all of Michigan’s historic lighthouses at https://www.michigan.org/lighthouses#?c=44.4299:-85.1166:6&tid=54&page=0&pagesize=20&pagetitle=Lighthouses

DSCN3480Gustav Dalen 1895dalen-sun-valve-chancebrothers-com

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The technological changes to fog signal equipment influenced the physical appearance of the Thunder Bay Island Light Station.  In 1853, funds for a fog bell were appropriated, and it was installed later in the 1850s.  In 1871, Congress appropriated funds to build a wood-framed fog signal building with a steam fog whistle, and in 1877 a duplicate fog signal building with a steam fog whistle was built.  This redundancy was common at light stations to ensure the fog signal was functional in the event one of them malfunctioned or was being repaired (see photo).  In 1906, a new “fireproof” brick fog signal building replaced the wood structures (see photo).  The fog signal was updated to a Type C air diaphone system in 1923, and to a Type F diaphone in 1932.

The fog signal history is a part of the Historic Structure Report (HSR) being prepared by OX Studio and Smay Trombley Architecture as part of a grant project funded by a National Maritime Heritage Program grant from the National Park Service, and a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grant from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).1904 Fog Signals1913 Fog Signal

Posted by: mlapgrants | April 5, 2018

Discover Michigan’s Offshore Lights

The SHPO 2018 Historic Lighthouses of Michigan maps and postcards have been printed and are now available!  This year, the postcards feature four of Michigan’s offshore lights.  The four lights are part of our Historic Structure Report and Public Education project funded by grants from the National Maritime Heritage Program through the National Park Service and the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program, through the State Historic Preservation Office, Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Hard copies of the maps and postcards are available from the SHPO by contacting Kevin Stone, Administrative Assistant, at stonek3@michigan.gov or 517-373-1630.

Special thanks to our consultants on this project, OX Studio and Smay Trombley Architecture.

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Posted by: mlapgrants | March 30, 2018

Discovering Michigan’s Offshore Lights

Thunder Bay Island Light Station

On Tuesday, March 20, SHPO architect Bryan Lijewski, consulting architect Michelle Smay from Smay Trombley Architecture, and Susan Skibbe from the Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse Preservation Society (TBILPS) presented the Thunder Bay Island Light Station Historic Structure Report (HSR) to the public.  It was an excellent event held at the Alpena Township Hall.  The Michigan Offshore Lights Historic Structure Report and Public Education Project is funded by a National Maritime Heritage Program grant through the National Park Service, and a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grant through the SHPO, Michigan State Housing Development Authority.  What’s next…replacement of the Fog Signal Building roof with partial funding provided by an MLAP grant!

Find out more about the TBILPS at http://www.thunderbayislandlight.org/

Thunder Bay 1Thunder Bay 2Thunder Bay 3

Posted by: mlapgrants | March 10, 2018

Thunder Bay Island Light Station Press Release

State historical architect to present in-depth report on Thunder Bay Island Light Station

Media Contact: Misty Miller
517-373-1858 | millerm58@michigan.gov

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March 8, 2018

Alpena, MICH. – A new report that analyzes the current condition of Alpena’s 186-year-old Thunder Bay Island Light Station, its history and recommendations to guide future work will be presented during a public meeting of the Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse Preservation Society (TBILPS) on March 20.

“Offshore light stations like the one on Thunder Bay Island are difficult to visit and not easily visible to the general public,” said Bryan Lijewski, AIA, licensed architect with the State Historic Preservation Office at MSHDA. “Through a partnership with OX Studio and Smay Trombley Architecture, we created a Historic Structure Report (HSR) to evaluate the Thunder Bay Island Light Station, provide a solid plan for future rehabilitation and collect important historical information.”

Lijewski will be co-presenting the discoveries from the HSR with Michelle Smay, owner of Smay Trombley Architecture. Their presentation includes an in-depth look at the history and development of the light station, rarely seen old photographs and images of the station as it is today. Current challenges facing TBILPS and potential solutions will also be discussed.

The HSR was made possible by creatively utilizing grant funding from SHPO’s Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) and partnering with lighthouse stewards to apply for—and receive—a National Maritime Heritage Grant from the National Park Service in 2015.  The MLAP grant was funded entirely through the sale and renewal of specialty Save Our Lights license plates

“Everyone is invited to come learn more about Thunder Bay Island Light Station and how you can get involved with its rehabilitation and preservation for generations to come,” Lijewski said.

The TBILPS public meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Alpena Township Hall. More information is available at http://www.thunderbayislandlight.org.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.*
*MSHDA’s loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.

 

 

SHPO Architect Bryan Lijewski and Michelle Smay from Smay Trombley Architecture presented their Michigan Offshore Lights HSR and Public Education Project on Friday, February 16 at the Maritime Heritage Conference in New Orleans.  The project includes the Thunder Bay Island Light Station in Lake Huron, and the Gull Rock Light Station, Manitou Island Light Station, and Stannard Rock Light Station in Lake Superior and is funded by a National Maritime Heritage Grant through the National Park Service and a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program Grant through the State Historic Preservation Office.

Learn more about all of Michigan’s lighthouses at https://www.michigan.org/lighthouses#?c=44.4299:-85.1166:6&tid=54&page=0&pagesize=20&pagetitle=Lighthouses

Posted by: mlapgrants | January 12, 2018

Laundry Day at the Gull Rock Light Station

The Gull Rock Light Station, built in 1867 on an approximately 100’ x 250’ rock outcropping off the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior, consisted of the Schoolhouse Style lighthouse, privy, boathouse, and boat-ways.  The site later included wooden walkways and docks.  This circa 1903 photograph captures a scene from life at the light station.  At the far left of the photograph, laundry is seen hanging out to dry, and a person can be seen standing at the entrance door to the lighthouse, likely waiting in anticipation for the arrival of their visitor.  This photograph is included in the Historic Structure Report (HSR) currently being written by OX Studio and Smay Trombley Architecture as part of a project funded by a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grant and a National Maritime Heritage Grant.

Gull Rock ca 1903

Posted by: mlapgrants | December 14, 2017

Working at Stannard Rock

 

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The isolated Stannard Rock Lighthouse in Lake Superior was often difficult to access due to weather and lake conditions.  At the end of the season, the personnel were anxious to depart and return to the main land for the winter break.  This 1954 photograph shows the last man to leave the light descending the ice covered ladder to board the boat back to shore.

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In 2017, a project team working on a National Maritime Heritage Program grant and a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grant to do an HSR at Stannard Rock conducted a day long site visit.  Robb Burroughs from OX Studio and part of the project team is seen in this photograph ascending the ladder to spend the day documenting the historic light.

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Posted by: mlapgrants | November 16, 2017

Manitou Island Light Station

The first stone tower and detached keeper’s dwelling on Manitou Island in Lake Superior were built in 1849 at a cost of $7,218. Due to their rapid deterioration, the stone structures were replaced with the current skeletal tower and wood framed keeper’s dwelling in 1861. Between 1865 and 1877, two wood fog signal buildings and a wood boathouse were constructed.  The boathouse and fog signal buildings shown in this 1895 photograph no longer exist, but the tower, keeper’s dwelling, and a 1938 fog signal building still stand and are the subjects of a Historic Structure Report (HSR) currently being completed through Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) and National Maritime Heritage Program grants.  The consultants for the project are O|X Studio and Smay Trombley Architecture.

Manitou

Posted by: mlapgrants | October 16, 2017

Thunder Bay Island Light Station

Congress appropriated $5,000 for the first lighthouse at Thunder Bay Island in March of 1831.  Due to poor construction, the tower collapsed by February of 1832!  Construction of a new stone tower and stone dwelling were complete by October of that year, and Israel Noble was appointed as the keeper with an annual salary of $350.  In 1857, the stone tower was encased in brick, its height was increased by ten feet, and a new lantern was installed.  In 1868 a new attached brick keeper’s dwelling was added to the tower.  This 1904 photograph shows the first stone dwelling on the left, and the 1868 dwelling adjacent to the tower.

Thanks to OX Studio and Smay Trombley Architecture for this information from the first draft of the HSR being funded by grants from the National Maritime Heritage Program and the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program.

TBIS 1904

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