Located where the St. Mary's River enters Lake Huron from Lake Superior, DeTour Passage separates the Upper Peninsula from Drummond Island. It has long been a choke point for Great Lakes shipping. Anticipating increased traffic as a result of the locks planned at Sault Ste. Marie, the U.S. Lighthouse Service built an onshore light station on Point DeTour in 1848. As vessels grew in size, DeTour Reef, which extends a mile from Point DeTour in twenty feet of water, became a greater shipping hazard. In 1929, the Lighthouse Service decided to replace the onshore light with a station atop the reef. DeTour Reef Light Station is one of only six reef light stations in Michigan.
Located four miles southeast of here, the DeTour Reef Light Station was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1931. The 1861 tower, Fresnel lens and lantern assembly were moved from the Point DeTour Light Station. The new station housed resident keepers, equipment and supplies in three stories. The tower rises more than eighty feet above the water and sits atop a forty-one-foot-high wood crib and concrete pier resting on DeTour Reef. The Coast Guard automated the station in 1974 and excessed it in 1997. The DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society, established in 1998, restored the station in 2004, opened it to visitors in 2005, and took ownership in 2010.