One of the main reasons I wanted to travel to Escanaba was to see five new lighthouses I hadn’t seen before in the area… and the Sand Point Lighthouse was one I was most excited to see! It’s definitely a landmark of the city and it’s beautiful. This one was built in 1867, and warned the ships off Sand Point and the sand reef that reached out into Little Bay De Noc. There is so much rich history in Escanaba! It used to be home to several ore docks, so there was constant traffic of ships that would carry out iron ore and lumber from local sawmills. Another big thing about this lighthouse is that it employed one of the first women lighthouse keepers on the Great Lakes!
So the first keeper that was appointed, John Terry, died of consumption while the lighthouse was under construction. So his wife, Mary Terry, was officially appointed in 1868 and served for 18 years! She lived there alone, because her and her husband didn’t have children. But in March 1886, a suspicious fire severely damaged the building and killed Mary. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding this fire. Many people had thought that Mary had been murdered, robbed, and the lighthouse was set on fire. The lighthouse door was open and the lock was found as if the door had been forced open, not unlocked. And the fact that Mary was found in the oil room and not in her bedroom was also strange. People who knew Mary found it hard to believe this was an accident because she was so careful and efficient. So that’s kind of an interesting story/mystery!
So we went to this lighthouse several times throughout our trip (it was a Pokémon Go stop 🙄), but it was good because we toured the lighthouse earlier in the day when it was open… and went back later to take sunset-y photos (that’s why the change of outfits mid-post, haha). But yeah, this lighthouse has undergone major renovation. They used old blueprints as a guide to try and restore the lighthouse back to its original glory. The interior has been restored as authentically as possible with 19th century furnishings. We were able to climb the tower and take a peek around, and I love when we’re able to tour lighthouses! That’s the only downside to visiting during golden hour… it makes for much better photos but likely the lighthouse isn’t open at that time of day. So twice to the lighthouse we go! That’s okay with me!
I have a full post coming on Escanaba… so stay tuned on that! I’ll share my food/restaurant recommendations and other things to do in that post. But yeah, if you’re ever in the area, I’d definitely recommend visiting the Sand Point Lighthouse. It’s right at the end of Ludington Street. We drove down there several times during our trip… I loved making the little loop around Water Plant Road. I don’t know why — but driving around the lake like that always reminds me of my grandpa. He used to pick me up from school and we’d drive around the lake in Muskegon (with two lighthouses). Definitely just makes me think of him to “drive around the lake”! I’ll be back with more posts from Escanaba!