In 1914, the Greilling Brothers were contracted to build the Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse, fog signal, and the Keeper’s dwelling. This new lighthouse replaced the obsolete pier head lights that had protected the shipping canal on the Manistique River. The lighthouse was completed in 1915, along with the fog signal, though the light was not activated until August 17, 1916. In the same year, the Keeper’s dwelling was built on the corner of Range and Washington Street.
Charles E. Corlett, who had previously served at the North Manitou Shoals Lighthouse, was the first Light Keeper of the Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse. Corlett passed away in 1920 and was replaced by Walter Ottosen. In 1937, Ottosen was given a star for achieving “high efficiency” during the previous year. In 1969 the lighthouse was automated and the Lighthouse Keepers dwelling was sold.
The Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse was auctioned in 2013. Bill Collins won the auction on July 15, 2013 with a bid of $15,000. Collins grew up on Lake Erie and he always took the chance to salvage old lighthouses. Though Collins had never been to Manistique before buying the lighthouse, he didn’t waste a single moment in bringing the light station back to it’s former glory. That very September, people were out on the rocks painting the station a new, fresh coat of red.
This lighthouse isn’t open to the public, but one can walk the east break wall up to the lighthouse. Visitors can utilize the parking area east of the US Forest Service Ranger Station on US 2 in Manistique to access the break wall. There is ample parking and a board walk that leads along the beach. This is a great location for sunset photos so don’t forget your camera. If you are like me you may want to make sure that you have an SD card in it also.