By the mid 1850's, shipping on Grand Traverse Bay had grown substantially. A Lighthouse on the northern tip of Old Mission Peninsula, to warn of the rocky point, was necessary. In 1859 Congress appropriated the funds, however the Light was not completed until 1870.
The first Light-keeper was Jerome M. Pratt, who kept a detailed journal of passing ships. On his first day he noted 5 vessels: 2 schooners, 2 steamers and one bark. An entry in 1875 listed 101 steamers and 75 sailing ships.
In 1876, Pratt was followed as keeper by J.W. Lane, Joseph Green and Emil C. Johnson. In 1933 the old lamp, which had burned kerosene, was replaced by automatic lights on the tower. Later the lights were mounted on an off-shore buoy. The Lighthouse has been owned by Old Mission Township since 1948.
[Photo captions read]
The Abandoned Light: 1948
Light-keeper E.C. Johnson