Posted by: mlapgrants | June 26, 2012

Copper Harbor Light Station National Register Listing

Contact: Mary Lou Keenon


Telephone: 517.373.0011



June 25, 2012





Lansing – The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), announced the recent listing of the Copper Harbor Light Station in the National Register of Historic Places.


The Copper Harbor Light Station is located at the eastern point of the entrance to Copper Harbor in Keweenaw County. It was one of three light stations authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1847-48 for Lake Superior. The other two authorized that year were Whitefish Point, built in 1848, and Manitou Island, built in 1849. By 1860, nineadditional lights were operating on the southern shore of Lake Superior, including ones at nearby Eagle Harbor and Eagle River.


The original Copper Harbor Light was put into operation in 1849 when Copper Harbor was an important entry and shipping point for the growing copper mining industry. The nominated complex includes the 1848 keeper’s dwelling, the 1866 schoolhouse-style lighthouse tower/dwelling, the 1866 privy, and the 1933 steel skeleton tower. The 1933 tower is still an operating U.S. Coast Guard navigation aid.


“Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state, and these structures have come to symbolize Michigan. We are happy to help them get the recognition they deserve,” said State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway. “We are fortunate that many of these, including the Copper Harbor Light Station, are open to the public.”


Copper Harbor Light Station is part of the Michigan Historical Museum system, which is operated by the Michigan Historical Center, Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR sought the nomination to bring national recognition to the historical significance of the complex.


Michigan Historical Center Director Sandra Clark said, “We are pleased that Copper Harbor Light Station has received recognition from the National Register of Historic Places. This recognition highlights the importance of preserving this site and makes our efforts to share its history with the public even more important.”


Copper Harbor Light Station is part of the Fort Wilkins Historic Complex. The light station is open daily (weather permitting), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., May 28 through September 3. Visitors may tour the keeper’s quarters, climb the light tower, and enjoy interactive displays. Fort Wilkins is open daily, 8:30 a.m. to dusk, from May 14 through October 21. Learn more at


The State Historic Preservation Office coordinates the National Register Program in Michigan.  For information on the National Register of Historic Places and other programs of the State Historic Preservation Office, visit or call (517) 373-1630.


The State Historic Preservation Office also works with nonprofit organizations and local governments and state and federal agencies to preserve Michigan’s historic lighthouses. You can support the preservation of Michigan’s lighthouses by purchasing a “Save Our Lights” license plate through the Secretary of State. Twenty-five dollars from each new plate and $10 for each renewal goes toward the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Fund.


Be sure to pick up your copy of the SHPO’s Historic Lighthouses of Michigan map at a welcome center this summer.


The State Historic Preservation Office is part of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) , which 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


The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is financed in part by a grant from the National Park Service, Department of Interior. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on its federally funded assistance programs.  If you believe you’ve been discriminated against please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C. St. NW, Washington DC 20240.



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