MICHIGAN – On August 5, visitors flocked to the newly restored Peninsula Point Lighthouse Tower in the Hiawatha National Forest. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, visitors can climb the 40 foot circular staircase in the tower to find a panoramic view of Lake Michigan.
The tower restoration project was implemented by a dedicated crew of Forest employees, HistoriCorps project leaders and volunteers, and a Great Lakes Conservation Corps crew who spent two weeks cleaning, prepping and re-pointing the masonry and painting the metal cabin.
Forest Service archaeologist and project coordinator Eric Drake was particularly enthusiastic about the collaboration, stating, “This project represents one of the most rewarding projects of my 17 years of public service with the Hiawatha National Forest. Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers, Forest Service employees, the four members of the Great Lakes Conservation Corps, and my friends and colleagues at HistoriCorps for all your hard work, humor, and passion for historic preservation! Your labor is now permanently written into the paint and mortar of the lighthouse tower.”
The lighthouse was taken out of service in 1922, and custodianship was transferred to the Forest Service in 1937 when the Civilian Conservation Corps repaired the buildings and constructed picnic grounds.
HistoriCorps is a non-profit organization that supports the restoration of historic structures on public lands by pairing restoration experts with dedicated volunteers of all skill levels – those with extensive construction experience as well as those who simply bring enthusiasm for restoration and a willingness to assist those more skilled. For the Peninsula Point Lighthouse Tower project, the HistoriCorps volunteers represented many states (e.g. Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Colorado) and included several Forest Service retirees dedicated to ongoing public service.
Peninsula Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1865 to facilitate safe passage for the iron ore boats traveling around the shoals located off the Stonington Peninsula along the northern curve of Green Bay.