Big Sable Point Light

Ludington State Park sits just a few miles north of downtown Ludington along the Lake Michigan shoreline and houses one of the great lighthouses in the world - the Big Sable Point Lighthouse.  

After 150 miles of relatively straight shoreline from New Buffalo to Mears, Michigan’s shoreline features three distinct points -- Little Sable Point, Big Sable Point, and Point Betsie. 1855 marked one of the deadliest years in Lake Michigan’s history, with hundreds losing their lives in shipwrecks around the lake. Off of Big Sable Point alone, three schooners sank, killing most aboard.

The next year, Congress appropriated $6,000 to build a lighthouse on Big Sable Point. Construction would be delayed because of the Civil War, and the lighthouse was not completed until 1867. Big Sable Point Lighthouse is the second Poe lighthouse along Lake Michigan’s shore, and is identical in many respects to Little Sable Point Lighthouse. Both rise to a height of 112’ (Little Sable is only a few inches taller), and feature a conical design gently converging to the lantern room. Big Sable Point Lighthouse differed in one key respect, however, using Cream City brick instead of the red brick used on Little Sable. The Cream City brick deteriorated through the years, and Big Sable Point Lighthouse was eventually encased in steel. Today, the lighthouse is painted a unique black and white pattern, and is maintained in excellent condition by the Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association.

Photography of Big Sable Lighthouse

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