Visiting the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse.
There are many famous Michigan lighthouses to visit. There are quite a few lighthouses that are easy to find. This lighthouse is a gem that you need to know to be looking for in order to find it. You won't know where to look without a map. But the reward is that of a very nice and secluded lighthouse and a piece of Michigan and Great Lakes history that isn't crawling with tourists like many of the more popular lighthouses.
Located on Sturgeon Point, and next to Sturgeon Point State Park, the lighthouse is off the beaten path. The address to the lighthouse is 6071 Point Rd, Harrisville, MI 48740. The lighthouse is managed by the Alcona Historical Society.
Generally this lighthouse is located off Michigan-23 between Alpena and Tawas City. But US-23 doesn't run directly to the road leading to the lighthouse. You'll need to take one of the side roads and work your way to the point from Lakeshore Drive. Turning east off Lakeshore Drive on Point Road will lead you to a dead end with a parking lot. From there you will need to walk to the lighthouse. I recommend taking East Black River Road off M-23 to the east through the quaint little town of Black River. From there either taking N Lakeshore Dr. south, passing through yet another historic town named Alcona until you reach your turn on Point Rd. By passing through the town of Black River you'll get to see another historic site, the St. Gabriel Catholic Church.
The Church is a well-preserved piece of the areas history. Alger Smith and Company donated land and a church was erected in 1894. Alger Smith being the namesake of the town of Alger just to the south. The church is almost the same as it was back when it was built.
Once you arrive at the parking lot for the lighthouse you'll have several choices in the path you take to the lighthouse. finding a path towards the lakeshore though you'll run into this quaint little schoolhouse. This is the Bailey School. One of the few remaining one-room, log schoolhouses left in Michigan. Originally at the site of the C.A. Johnson Logging Camp west of Mikado Michigan, it was disassembled and moved to it's current site in 1998. Here it sits as it would have done so back in 1907.
Complete with a hand pump out in front to provide fresh water for the school, though it's not working now. This site offers yet another bonus for visiting this lighthouse. Though the building was locked when we visited, there were large windows for you to look into the school building and see everything there is to see inside.
Continuing to follow the path from the school you'll be quickly dumped out into a grassy field and looking across that field at the entire lighthouse complex and the beach. Sturgeon Point itself is basically gone at this point, washed away by the rising lake and erosion. There is is, the lighthouse.
Built in 1869, the lighthouse itself looks almost the same today as it did when it was built, however in 1876 a life saving station was built alongside the lighthouse and several other support buildings were present then that are gone now.
There is a gift shop and several modern prefabricated garden sheds behind it that aren't original, but pretty much every other building on the property is the same as it was when the lighthouse was built.
The lighthouse grounds hosted many social events such as baseball games, and family picnics. The lighthouse has had a life of overlooking human recreation. There's a sense of poetry I think in the fact that while it was in service is overlooked the recreational needs of people, and now it itself is a source of recreation. There's a feeling of restfulness here that is hard to describe. It's as if you're standing in the presence of a watchful grandfather.
From the lighthouse you can walk to the beach and appreciate the view back towards the lighthouse from below. The beach offers a chance to search for Petoskey stones as well as an excellent view to the north.
The water here is a beautiful shade of bluish green that Lake Huron is famous for. You'll be able to walk along the shore for a ways in both directions and enjoy the sounds of the waves. When we went there were hardly any people around. It was very tranquil and peaceful except for the strong waves that were being churned up by a storm to the northeast.
It's sad to see that the lighthouse does look like it needs some TLC that it's not getting. I hope no damage is coming to the building. It's clear that the Alcona historical society is doing the best they can with what they have. If you like this story don't send us money, send it to the Alcona Historical Society so that they can do more to preserve this lighthouse. Their address is: Alcona Historical Society
P.O. Box 174
Harrisville, MI 48740
Overall this lighthouse is a great place to visit. I think that if you bring your family here everyone will find a way to enjoy the grounds. There's water, there's a lighthouse, and there's a lot of peace to be found here. This is definitely worth the stop if you are driving along M-23 and would like to stretch your legs. It'd also be a great stop if you decide to take M-23 as a day trip as it falls between other points of interest.
Alcona county historical Society website.