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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Saving Michigan's offshore lights: An in-depth look at preserving three U.P. light stations

Media Contact: Misty Elliott
517-335-9847 |

May 2, 2018

Copper Harbor, MICH. – New reports analyzing current conditions of the Gull Rock Light Station, Manitou Island Light Station and Stannard Rock Light Station assess the history of the lights and reveal recommendations to guide future work to preserve and protect these iconic structures.

Bryan Lijewski, AIA, licensed architect with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) at MSHDA, will present findings and share information about how the community can become involved in the preservation effort during three public meetings early next week.

“These offshore light stations are difficult to visit and not easily visible to the general public,” Lijewski said. “Through a partnership with OX Studio and Smay Trombley Architecture, we created comprehensive Historic Structure Reports (HSR) to evaluate the condition of these structures, provide a solid plan for future rehabilitation and collect important historical information.”

Lijewski will be co-presenting with Michelle Smay, owner of Smay Trombley Architecture, May 6-8 in Copper Harbor, Houghton and Marquette respectively. Their presentations will include in-depth looks at the history and development of the light stations, rarely seen old photographs and images of the structures as they stand today. Current challenges facing preservation efforts and possible solutions will also be discussed.

The HSRs were 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

“All three of these light stations have amazing stories just waiting to be shared,” Lijewski said. “Everyone is invited to attend the open meetings and learn more about how we can work together to save these lights and make sure they are around for generations to come.”

Each presentation provides applicable attendees 1 HSW American Institute of Architects (AIA) continuing education credit.

Meeting details:

Gull Rock Light Station
When: Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Grant Township Hall, Copper Harbor
Manitou Island Light Station
When: Monday, May 7, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Portage Lake District Library Community Room, Houghton

Stannard Rock Light Station
When: Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Citizens Forum at Lakeview Arena, Marquette