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Location DB > United States > Michigan > Near Ontonagon > Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse
Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse
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 Database Info
created by Zachary on 3/18/2006 7:24 PM
last modified by fr00tCake on 9/16/2022 6:39 PM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
Main Structure: A large, majestic brick building with two symmetrical residences flanking a large central tower.

Fog Signal Building: A square, one story brick building with a large chimney

Oil Storage Building: A small brick building

Second Assistant Keeper's Quarters: A wooden building resembling a barn
 Basic Information
Type: Building
Status: Abandoned/Under Restoration
Accessibility: Easy to enter, difficult to reach, it's a 16 mile hike unless you have a boat
Recommendation: worth the trip
 Physical Information

Near Ontonagon, Michigan
United States
Owner: John/Susan Hatch; Don Hermanson
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
  • water
  • Crumbling brick
  •  Interesting Features
    In the tower, the wooden staircase was destroyed in the fire but the metal one still hangs from the ceiling.
     Security Measures
  • The fog signal building is locked up, other than that, nothing
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1984
    Closed: 1945
     Required Equipment
     Recommended Equipment
    Good shoes, full pack with camp kit , food/water and PLENTY of bug spray. Walking the shore line is 95% sand - despite no climbs, it's a beast of a hike.
    In 1892, the Lighthouse Board made the following request for a lighthouse at Fourteen Mile Point to fill a dark void on the western side of Keweenaw Peninsula:

    "This prominent point is about 15 miles east of Ontonagon light, nearly at the limit of its visibility. There is no light in the [northeast] direction until that at Portage Lake Ship-Canal is reached, a distance of more than 40 miles [from Ontonagon]. A new coast light is needed here in the interests of a large commerce to and from Ashland Bay. All this commerce passes directly by Fourteen Mile Point on the way to and from Keweenaw Point. It is estimated that a proper light and fog signal can be established here for not to exceed $20,000, and it is recommended that an appropriation of that amount be made therefor."

    Congress responded promptly, appropriating the requested $20,000 on March 3, 1893, and later that year a fifty-acre parcel on the point was purchased and six acres were cleared of brush and trees. That fall, framing of temporary structures and outbuildings was accomplished, and the necessary construction material was purchased and stored at the Detroit lighthouse depot for shipping to Fourteen Mile Point in the spring.
    The lighthouse tender Amaranth departed Detroit on May 10, 1894 with the district engineer, a superintendent of construction, the working party, and all the needed supplies to commence the work. Active operations started at Fourteen Mile Point on May 14, and during the next two weeks quarters were built for the work crew, an eight-foot-wide and ninety-two-foot-long landing crib was finished, and excavations were made for the lighthouse and fog-signal building. During June, the brick fog signal building and oil house were completed, the frame boathouse was built, a tramway connecting the landing dock to the lighthouse was laid, a windmill was erected, and work on the lighthouse was started.

    Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse resembles the more accessible lighthouses built in 1896 at Big Bay Point and Forty Mile Point, having a massive square central tower flanked by mirror-image apartments for the keeper and assistant, but Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse has a few additional touches, like an arched portico, that made it even more attractive. Wok on the redbrick lighthouse had advanced to the point that its fourth-order light could be exhibited on October 15, 1894, but some finish work was left until the following year.

    A fourth-order fixed white light, varied every twenty seconds by a red flash, was the signature of Fourteen Mile Point, and its ten-inch steam fog whistle blasted for five seconds every thirty seconds, during thick or foggy weather. The fog signal was in operation an average of 155 hours each year and varied from a low of 67 hours in 1898 to 251 hours in 1907.

    Some changes made to the lighthouse over the years included changing the color of the lantern room from black to white in 1912 and increasing the light’s intensity in 1915, by changing its illuminant from oil to incandescent oil vapor. One thing that did not change was the fog signal. In 1933, Fourteen Mile Point had the last remaining steam fog signal in the district.

    Thomas Doody served as the station’s first head keeper from 1894 until 1902, when he was transferred to Minnesota Point Lighthouse and replaced by Ralph Heater. Keeper Heater began his lightkeeping career in 1893 at Stannard Rock Lighthouse, where he worked his way up from third assistant to first assistant, before being transferred to Big Bay Lighthouse in 1897. Heater clashed with Keeper William Prior at Big Bay, and after one season there, he was transferred to Granite Island, from where he finally made head keeper with his appointment to Fourteen Mile Point in 1902.

    In 1911, Ralph Heater was transferred to Grassy Island Lighthouse near Detroit and replaced by Henry Noel, his first assistant, but after one season, Heater and Noel swapped assignments, and Keeper Heater returned to serve a few more years at Fourteen Mile Point before being transferred back to Granite Island and then to Rouleau Point Range.

    Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse was staffed by just two keepers until 1898, when a second assistant keeper was assigned to the station.

    At the opening of navigation in 1932, Clarence Lamb visited the station and installed a new lens, changing the characteristic of the light from a white light interrupted every twenty seconds by a red flash to a group of two red flashes every thirty seconds. In 1943, the light’s characteristic was changed from group flashing red every thirty seconds to group flashing white every ten seconds.

    The beginning of the end of the staffed era for Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse came on July 1, 1933, when the position of second keeper was eliminated, leaving just Keeper McGregor and assistant Charles Miles at the station. After the 1934 season, Fourteen Mile Point was converted to an automated acetylene light, the fog signal was discontinued, and Keeper McGregor was placed in charge of Portage Lake Ship Canal Lighthouse. The automated light was monitored by the keeper of Ontagaon Lighthouse until Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse was discontinued in 1955. The fog whistles from Fourteen Mile Point were taken to Ontonagon in 1956 with the intention to use them for civil defense alarms during the cold war years, but this plan was never carried out.

    Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse was sold for $5,200 in 1957, and several years later, it was purchased by a second owner. From that point, the station started to show neglect. Windows were broken, and vandals began dismantling the structures, piece by piece.

    On the morning of July 30, 1984, a passing sailboat noticed that Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse was on fire and notified authorities. Jack Williams brought three Ontonagon firemen to the scene along with 350 feet of hose and two portable pumps with his boat Jenny Sue, but the blaze was already out of control when they arrived. The firefighters managed to keep the flames from spreading to other structures, but when the men left the point that evening, all that was left of the lighthouse was its brick walls and cast-iron lantern and watchroom. The blaze was apparently started by campers at the lighthouse who failed to extinguish their fire.

    In the early 1990s, John and Susan Hatch and Don Hermanson purchased the lighthouse and set about restoring the fog signal building. Hermanson runs Keweenaw Video Productions in Houghton and has produced several DVDs on haunted lighthouses and lighthouses of the Upper Peninsula.
     Media Coverage

     Future Plans
    Either restoration or it'll simply collapse.

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     Web Links


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     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

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    This location is currently in queue to be re-validated. It was last validated by Emperor Wang on 3/20/2006 12:20 AM.

    This location is in queue to be deleted.
    (It's an historic lighthouse with no photo galleries by Emperor Wang)
     Latest Changes
  • on Sep 16 22 at 18:39, fr00tCake changed the following: Owner, Latitude, Longitude, History, Interesting Features, Recommended Equipment, Future Plans, Description
  • on Sep 6 18 at 21:04, Emperor Wang added this location to the delete queue
  • on Sep 6 18 at 15:43, Mr. Bitey changed the following: Web Links
  • on Mar 18 06 at 19:41, Zachary made this location public
  • on Mar 18 06 at 19:41, Zachary made this location available
  • on Mar 18 06 at 19:39, Zachary changed the following: Owner, Type, City, Province / State (please use full name), Country, Latitude, Longitude, Co-ordinate Accuracy, History, Year Built, Year Closed, Status, Accessibility, Hazards, Interesting Features, Recommendation, Security Measure
  • on Mar 18 06 at 19:25, Zachary changed the following: Notes for Mods, History, Interesting Features, Media Coverage, Future Plans, Description, Web Links
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