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 |

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

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




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

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



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.


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.


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.


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

The pre-bid site visit for the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grant rehabilitation project at the Grand Haven Lights was held on Wednesday, August 30.

The Entrance Light will be rehabilitated by stabilizing the concrete structure, installing ten operable double hung windows, repairing and replacing the porthole windows, and applying weather-stripping to the lantern door.  The Inner Light will be rehabilitated by removing paint from brass portions of the porthole windows and applying weatherstripping to the lantern door.  The Grand Haven South Pier Entrance and Inner Lights are significant historic resources that were built in 1905 and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Catwalk:  The catwalk was removed and is in storage while the pier is being resurfaced. DSCN4147DSCN4188DSCN4152DSCN4157

Posted by: mlapgrants | August 29, 2017

Pure Michigan

Vernors Ginger Ale + Lighthouses = Pure Michigan!


Posted by: mlapgrants | August 15, 2017

Stannard Rock Lighthouse

The project team for the Standard Rock Lighthouse Historic Structure Report (HSR) and Education project traveled 37 miles by boat across Lake Superior on a perfect summer day to document this historic lighthouse.  The lighthouse, completed in 1882, is one of four offshore lights being evaluated through a project funded by a National Maritime Heritage Grant and a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grant.  Purchase or renew your lighthouse license plate to help support these projects!

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Posted by: mlapgrants | July 26, 2017

MLAP Grants

Dear Lighthouse Enthusiast:

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is pleased to announce the availability of fiscal year 2018 Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grant applications. Funds are available for both planning and rehabilitation activities. The grant application deadline is Friday, November 17, 2017. Applications must be postmarked no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 17, 2017. Copies of the grant manual and application materials can be found on our web page at If you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to discuss your proposed project with SHPO staff.

Thank you,

Joelle Letts

Grants Manager/Budget Analyst

State Historic Preservation Office, Michigan State Housing Development Authority

735 E. Michigan Ave.,

P O Box 30044

Lansing, MI 48909

Phone: 517-373-1904

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