The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse ranks among the ten oldest lighthouses in Michigan. It is an active lighthouse maintained remotely by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The museum and gift shop are open to the public. The tower is open to climb on various dates. Please see the Events Calendar for those dates. In 2017, we had the 1876 Lifesaving Station moved back to the grounds. There is much work to be done on it, and we hope to have it open to tour in the not- too-distant future.
The original Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse was constructed of stone taken from the shore of Lake Huron in 1848. The keeper's house and separate tower were located on a three acre clearing hacked out of the dense wilderness.
By 1857, the ravages of shoreline weather and a fire in the interior of the house created the need for a new structure. The new keeper's house and attached 89-foot tower were built of the finest brick available. The light is still an active aid to navigation, making Pointe aux Barques one of the oldest continuously operating Lights on the Great Lakes.
In 1876, a First Class life-saving station was constructed 300 yards south of the lighthouse. It was the first life-saving station opened on the Great Lakes. The 62-year history of the station credits over 200 rescues to this station and its brave crews. The Thumb Bottomland Preserve surrounding Pointe aux Barques contains 105 known wrecks, reflecting the danger posed by shoals surrounding Pointe aux Barques.
The life-saving station was closed in 1937. To prevent its demolition, in 1960 the station (with attached Captain’s living quarters) was moved to the Huron City Museum (about 2 miles to the northwest). In 2017, the buildings were moved back to Lighthouse Park and secured on new foundations. Restoration efforts have begun.
The Pointe aux Barques keeper's house and tower have been completely restored and contain historical artifacts from a bygone era. The Museum is open to the public.