MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — Thanks to $106,000 in Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grants from the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, teams will be able to move forward with preservation efforts on two historic lighthouses in the Upper Peninsula.

Rock of Ages Lighthouse and Eagle Harbor Lighthouse were selected as the grant recipients.

“Michigan’s historic lighthouses endure harsh weather, year after year. These icons on our shorelines require constant maintenance and attention,” Michigan’s Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Martha MacFarlane-Faes stated. “Our lighthouse preservation grants help repair and restore these beacons, so they can connect us with our maritime heritage for years to come.”  

The Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society, which oversees the lighthouse that sits 3 miles off the coast of Isle Royale National Park, is receiving a MLAP grant of $46,000 with a match amount of $23,000. The funds will be used to hire a contractor for rehabilitating the 132-foot-tall lighthouse by cleaning and painting the exterior. The lighthouse hasn’t been painted since 1985.

Rock of Ages Lighthouse. Photo courtesy: Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society Volunteer

“Cracking, missing vent covers, and heavy lichen growth on the exterior masonry of Rock of Ages Lighthouse are causing water infiltration that threatens to halt interior restoration efforts,” preservation society Executive Director David Gerth stated. “This grant will allow us to hire a contractor to clean, repair, and paint the exterior masonry of the tower ensuring that interior restoration may continue as scheduled. This project marks a huge step toward our goal of opening the lighthouse to the public in the future.” 

In Eagle Harbor, the Keweenaw County Historical Society will hire a contractor to work on the tower of the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse. It received a grant of $60,000 with a matching amount of $39,000.

The rehabilitation proposal includes replacing the brick exterior and repairing damaged plaster on the inside of the tower. Repairs also include put aren’t limited to wall water diversion and deck and lantern room repair.

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse. Photo Courtesy: Bryan Lijewski, State Historic Preservation Office 
Keweenaw County Historical Society 

“The Keweenaw County Historical Society is very appreciative of receiving this grant award, especially since we are a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization,” Keweenaw County Historical Society President Mel Jones said. “This funding will help us preserve and maintain our 150+-year old lighthouse in a manner that is historically correct.”