2005-05-04 / Front Page

DeTour Light Listed on Historic Register

The DeTour Reef Light Station between DeTour and Drummond Island was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo courtesy of Dave Bardsley)The DeTour Reef Light Station between DeTour and Drummond Island was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo courtesy of Dave Bardsley) The DeTour Reef Light Station in Chippewa County was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places Tuesday, March 15, the National Park Service reported.

Established under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the register is the nation’s list of nationally significant properties worthy of preservation. The resources listed on the National Register illustrate and commemorate our nation’s past. Listing in the National Register honors a historic place by recognizing its importance to its community, state, and the nation.

Built in 1931, and standing a mile offshore in northern Lake Huron at the far eastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the DeTour Reef Light rises 83 feet above the water. The structure, sitting on a 60-foot square, 20-foot high concrete crib, is a steel-framed square tower of three distinct levels. It marks a dangerous reef to help guide ship traffic from and to Lake Huron and Lake Superior via the strategic St. Mary’s River. The Light was automated in 1974. In 1997, the lighthouse was declared surplus property by the U. S. Coast Guard due to sophisticated navigational systems aboard ships, and the Coast Guard’s not having the funding to care for the structure in accordance with historic preservation guidelines.

In 1998, local citizens formed the DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society (DRLPS) to restore and preserve the lighthouse between the communities of DeTour Village and Drummond Island. Volunteers have worked to build the membership-based society and acquire funding for educational and restoration programs to preserve the Light and chronicle the importance of the rich maritime heritage of the region.

The society completed major interior and exterior restoration of the lighthouse in 2004, and public tours to this historic structure will begin in July.

The group is “honored, along with being highly encouraged and motivated, by the listing of the DeTour Reef Light in the prestigious National Register of Historic Places. We are very grateful to all of the volunteers, members, government agencies, and others, who have helped make this listing a reality,” said DRLPS President Dave Bardsley.

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