East Channel Lighthouse
(Pictured at right: Resembling a small country church in style, its original color was white. The location, opposite the dangerous shoal at Sand Point, was critical for safe navigation.)
The small wooden frame lighthouse on the southeast shore of Grand Island was constructed in 1867 along with the North Light, which is also on the Island, for the the purpose of guiding vessels safely into Munising Bay. The land was one of a number of parcels reserved in 1847 for government use. By 1905, the Lighthouse Board noted that the light was no longer serving its original purpose. Considering the difficulties in maintenance and the mariner’s desire for improved range lights, its abandonment was only a matter of time. The light was finally left for good in 1913 as a result of the construction of range lights on the mainland in 1908. In 1915 the surrounding land and lighthouse were privately purchased. The lighthouse building became communal property of those who purchased the nearby lots.
The last keeper of the light was George Prior. He and his wife raised two of their children here. Like many other keepers of great lakes lighthouses, George kept a small garden as well as chickens and perhaps even a cow. Setting a net or two assured fresh fish.
Extensive preservation efforts have been made over the last 20 years to save this precious piece of history from collapse with great success.
Information from the book Dangerous Coast: Pictured Rocks Shipwrecks by Fred Stonehouse and Daniel Fountain, Avery Color Studios, Marquette Michigan, 1997.