Historic Tawas Point Lighthouse Reopens After Restoration

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Tawas Point Lighthouse, East Tawas, MI — May 9, 2024

After extensive restoration work, the Tawas Point Lighthouse – located in Tawas Point State Park in East Tawas, Michigan, has reopened for the 2024 spring/summer season. This May marks 147 years since the light first shone from the tower’s lantern room onto Tawas Bay and Lake Huron.

Tawas Point Lighthouse officially opened to the public Wednesday, May 8, and hosts tours Wednesday through Monday, from noon to 5 p.m. until Oct. 20. Tours cost $5. Every Tuesday, from June 4 through Aug. 27, the Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park will conduct tours by donation from noon to 4 p.m.

Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

Tawas Point Lighthouse
686 Tawas Beach Road
East Tawas, MI 48730

Phone: 517-930-3806

Restoring the light

The restoration work, which started in February 2023, was made possible through $455,500 in federal COVID-19 relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and outlined in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Building Michigan Together Plan.

Guided by historic architects at WTA Architects in Saginaw, the project’s primary focus was reversing the exterior deterioration of the lighthouse tower, as well as the lantern room and gallery. Mihm Enterprises, Inc., a contracting company from Hamilton, Michigan, was selected to conduct the work. Between the two organizations, there are five Governor’s Awards for Historic Preservation and five Michigan Historic Preservation Network Building Awards. Tawas Point Lighthouse marked Mihm Enterprise, Inc.’s 23rd lighthouse restoration project.

The team worked to identify and correct ventilation and moisture issues that had accelerated the tower’s decline. Those changes will improve safety and help prevent future deterioration.

While the tower itself remains white, the lantern and gallery colors may look different to repeat visitors. The colors, based on a paint color analysis, now reflect what was present at the lighthouse circa 1895.

Read more about the restoration process in this Showcasing the DNR story.

“After many years, we are so excited to see the tower of Tawas Point Lighthouse return to the gleaming white beacon it was meant to be,” said Laurie Perkins, a Michigan History Center site historian for Tawas Point Lighthouse. “The crowning glory of the restoration project is the lantern room where the 1891 fourth-order Fresnel Lens still resides. As work progressed on the tower, an exciting color palette dating to the turn of the 20th century reappeared, adding even more to the historical authenticity of the lighthouse.”

“We are grateful for the hard work and immense care that the Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park consistently dedicate to this historic site,” said Micah Jordan, the Tawas Point State Park supervisor. “As volunteers, they share their time, energy, and passion with this site.”

For more information about the lighthouse, visit Michigan.gov/TawasLighthouse. To learn more about the Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park, visit tawaslighthousefriends.com.

ARPA funding

A total of $250 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding was made available to the DNR to address a decades-long backlog of repair and maintenance needs in Michigan’s state parks system and build a new state park in Flint.

An additional $2.64 million in ARPA upgrades is proposed for Tawas Point State Park, including stabilizing the Lake Huron shoreline, upgrading the parking lot and roads, and modernizing the campground electrical system.

To follow the status of ARPA-funded projects and learn more about funding and decision-making, visit Michigan.gov/StateParksProgress. There, you’ll find FAQs, a photo gallery, and an interactive map identifying proposed project locations, details, and status of those projects.