Mission Point Lighthouse has a big birthday this year. The historic structure located at the end of Center Road/M37 will turn 150 years old on Sept. 10, 2020. Happy Birthday, Lighthouse! You look great for your age!
Lighthouse Manager Ginger Schultz reports that last year was another record-breaking year for the lighthouse gift shop, with more than 47,000 people signing the guest book, including visitors from every U.S. state and 79 foreign countries. In fact, 2019 was the highest year to date for gross sales and number of visitors.
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While Sept. 10 is the official anniversary of our beloved lighthouse, she says they will be celebrating this historic birthday all year, including on National Lighthouse Day, August 7, 2020. They are hoping to have a float in the National Cherry Festival parade, and they’re also hosting the Michigan Lighthouse Festival on August 7-8, 2020.
Lighthouse Upgrades & Projects for 2020
In addition to the popular Lighthouse Keeper Program (keepers pay $200 for a week’s stay at the lighthouse, which includes tasks such as working in the gift shop; the program is almost fully scheduled for the 2020 season), there are a number of projects taking place this year, including:
- Upgrading the Veterans Memorial (the old posts were recently replaced with boulders donated by Township Board Trustee Isaiah Wunsch and installed by Nate McManus of Oliver & Company)
- Installing a new white fence around the lighthouse
- Updating the kitchen in the keeper’s quarters
- Creating new museum displays, including a display for the donated Metropolis deadeye (a circular wood block with a groove around the circumference that holds a ship rope singly or in pairs to tighten a sail)
- Installing two windows and a door to return the south and west sides of the lighthouse to historic integrity
- Installing historically accurate black shutters on all the windows (funded by Mission Point Lighthouse Friends via the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society)
- Installing a handicapped accessible ramp, door and displays in the small building next to the lighthouse
- Possibly building a small replica boathouse
The Peninsula Township Lighthouse Committee (Township Supervisor Rob Manigold, Clerk Becky Chown, Trustee Marge Achorn, Parks Committee member Pete Dahl, and OMP Historical Society members Laura Johnson, John Scarbrough and Chris Rieser) is working with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), architect Ken Czapski, who specializes in historic lighthouses, the Peninsula Township Parks Committee, and the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society to ensure historic accuracy and fiscal accountability.
These improvements all help to celebrate the day the historic light was lit on Sept. 10, 1870. Community activities are also being planned to celebrate the anniversary, including collaborations with other ligthhouses, local businesses, schools and other organizations.
A Note for OMP Business Owners
Ginger also notes that Old Mission Peninsula businesses have a special opportunity to connect with lighthouse keepers and tourists throughout the year.
“When visiting the Old Mission Peninsula, it’s quite common for tourists to start at Lighthouse Park and work their way south to other businesses, farm markets and wineries along the way,” she says. “So our keepers field many questions from hundreds of tourists regarding where to eat, where the farm markets are and which wineries to visit.”
For the second year, she’s offering a program whereby lighthouse keepers are issued a special plastic engraved VIP 2020 KEEPERS card. Keepers can show the card to OMP businesses and receive a discount of the business owners’ choosing, learn about the business, and refer tourists.
“I consider this is a win-win situation since they’re speaking on behalf of your business directly to visitors,” says Ginger. For more information and to include your business in the program, email Ginger, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (231) 645-0759.
OMP Residents May Climb Stairs, See Displays for Free
As a reminder, Old Mission Peninsula residents are welcome to visit the lighthouse, see the new displays on the second floor, see the new railings and climb the stairs to the tower for free during the regular hours of the lighthouse. Just let the keepers know that you’re locals.
The lighthouse is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May through October, and on weekends in November. For more about the history of Mission Point Lighthouse, visit the website here.