SocietyIn the Spring of 2002, a small group of people gathered at the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse. Their only desire was to clean the keeper's house to make it more presentable for visitors.
After this initial effort, everyone involved decided there was more work to be done. So a group was formed, a name was chosen, officers were appointed, by-laws were written, and a 501c3 non-profit corporation was formed. An Historical Structures Report (HSR), written through a grant from the State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO), was completed and furnished to the Huron County Road Commission (which manages Lighthouse Park). The HSR became the guidelines for the Road Commission and the Society to follow in their vision of creating one of the finest lighthouse museums on the Great Lakes.
The Society’s initial efforts focused on the structures themselves. Although the Keeper’s House was in relatively good shape, it needed substantial exterior work if it was to be preserved for posterity. Through its fundraising efforts, available grants, and the help and support of the Road Commission, the Society was able to install a new cedar shake roof and new brick chimneys on the Keeper’s House and paint the entire building. Important interior work was also undertaken – including repairing, sanding and refinishing the original wood floors; repairing plaster; painting; and removing fixtures which that were not original to the structure (e.g., radiators and a bathroom). To allow the Keeper’s House to serve as a museum – and to protect the valuable artifacts that would be on display – modern climate control and security systems were installed. Although the Lighthouse Tower was structurally sound, its exterior paint had deteriorated and was, therefore, recoated with a paint that should last for many years. Still, much more work needs to be done. On the immediate horizon are replacing the sidewalks that lead to the Keeper’s House Museum and Lighthouse and repairing/replacing the Museum windows.
The Society has also been active in acquiring historical artifacts for display in the Museum. Although some artifacts reflect early life in Michigan’s Thumb, the focus is on the Lighthouse, the nearby Lifesaving Station, and the numerous shipwrecks just off the tip of the Thumb.
All of this work costs money. Although some grants have been available, the majority of the Society’s funding has come from membership fees ($25 for an individual or a family), donations and fundraising activities. The Society operates a gift shop on weekends during the summer months that sells a variety of lighthouse and shipwreck-themed merchandise, including books, CDs, shirts, ceramic mugs, postcards and Christmas ornaments. The Society sponsors a Heritage Festival the first Saturday of August each year. During the day, the Festival features live music, a silent auction, craft vendors, hamburgers, hotdogs, ice cream and a corn roast, and an opportunity to climb the Tower for just $2 (the Tower is open for climbing other days as well – check this website). After the day’s activities, there is a catered dinner under the “big tent” followed by a speaker on an interesting and relevant historical topic.
The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse Society welcomes your interest and invites you to visit our Lighthouse in beautiful Lighthouse County Park whenever you can!
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Upton (Bill) Bonner, President
Larry Becker, Vice President
Jean Wingblad, Treasurer
Jim Iseler *
*Original Board Members
To Contact the Board, click on President
For a Membership Application, click on Membership
For 2017 Schedule of Activities, please go to the Join Us page.