GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ABC 4)- National Lighthouse Day is Monday, Aug. 7! According to the United States Lighthouse Society, this day is “an annual commemoration of the anniversary of the federal lighthouse establishment and a day to celebrate lighthouses and the commitment and service of those who tended to America’s lights for generations.”  

The holiday may fall under many people’s radar, but Michigan has close ties to these incredible landmarks. According to the Michigan Economic Develop Program, Michigan has over 120 lighthouses along its shores, more than any other state in the nation.

A local non-profit, The Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, is celebrating National Lighthouse Day by hosting a community event in Muskegon filled with excitement, fun and appreciation for our historic lights.

“We have planned a diverse range of activities and events to ensure there is something for everyone to enjoy,” Nia Merriweather, executive director of The Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, said.

muskegon south breakwater lighthouse
The South Breakwater Lighthouse in Muskegon on Aug. 18, 2019.

The celebration will be hosted at the Muskegon Lights Gift Shop and Muskegon South Pierhead Light. There is no cost to attend, but a $5 admission fee applies for adult tours of the South Pierhead Light. Proceeds will benefit the restoration of the South Breakwater Light, a priority for the local organization. 

“Preserving lighthouses is of utmost importance, as these historical landmarks hold significant cultural, architectural and maritime value,” Merriweather said. “Showing appreciation for these iconic landmarks through events like National Lighthouse Day fosters a sense of community pride and unity.”

During the event, guests can enjoy an all-day chalk contest, a balloon artist from 1-3 p.m., a story time with Hackley Public Library at 3 p.m., face painting from 3-5 p.m., free snacks and a free drawing entry to win items from local vendors. 

In other words, there will be no shortage of fun activities for guests to participate in, all in celebration of the remarkable structures.

“Through the National Lighthouse Day event, we hope attendees will gain a deeper appreciation for the cultural and historical significance of lighthouses. We aim to instill a sense of wonder and curiosity about the maritime world and the importance of preserving our heritage,” Merriweather said.

Fun facts about the Muskegon South Pierhead Light (MSPL): 

  • The MSPL is not a lighthouse. It’s a light.  
  • The MSPL didn’t always have a “jaw-dropping” red color. It was originally painted white and repainted in 1917 to its current color. 
  • The MSPL has a chimney stack used to vent a small heater in the watch room. The small heater was used by light keepers when working shifts in cold weather. 
  • The MSPL is available to tour on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 1-5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for veterans and students 17 and under. For more information and tour updates, visit MSPL’s Facebook page

The Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy is seeking light-keeper volunteers. Prior experience isn’t required. Those interested are highly encouraged to get involved by emailing

“We welcome individuals from all walks of life. Everyone’s contribution-no matter how big or small-makes a difference,” Merriweather said.