Located just north of Ahmeek, Sand Hill Lighthouse has stood for almost a century. Commissioned in 1917, the lighthouse was completed in 1919. Originally, the Eagle River Light was the only lighthouse between Keweenaw Waterway and Eagle Harbor Light, but after much discussion about traffic changing, it was decided that there should be an additional lighthouse added. Since Sand Hills became such a high traffic area after the copper strike faded out, the lighthouse was authorized for construction in 1893.
Although the lighthouse plans had been approved, unfortunately, there were no funds allocated to it’s resources or building. Shortly afterward, the Eagle River Light was decommissioned, leaving no lights in the area for boats to navigate. Finally, the lighthouse was commissioned in 1917, but not before many ships had run aground at the dangerous Sawtooth Reef nearby.
In 1919, the lighthouse was finally complete. For the first 20 years of service, the lighthouse had three keepers. The site is larger than many fictional representations of lighthouses suggest and included an oil house, a garage, concrete breakwater and a barracks building, which was used during WWII.
After the Coast Guard took responsibility for the lighthouse in 1939, they automated its function, removing the need for any keepers. Later, it was used as a training facility, as housing and as a schooling facility for around 200 Coast Guard trainees. In 1943, the lighthouse was closed for further training and resumed its function solely as a lighthouse.
With the invention and adaptation to radar technology, the Sand Hill Light was finally decommissioned in 1954. After being owned briefly by a retreating writer, Sand Hill was sold to Bill Frabotta. Thirty years later, the lighthouse and property have recently been converted into a truly lovely bed and breakfast by Bill and his caring wife Mary.
Now voted as one of the “Ten Most Romantic Inns in America” by America Historic Inns and in the top 15 Bed and Breakfasts serving gourmet breakfasts, it’s a great spot to visit, relax and enjoy the beautiful weather. Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn opened in 1995. It has eight rooms with private baths, delicious pastries made by Bill’s wife Mary, and nightly musical performances, also played by Mary, on her grand piano. Visitors to the location say that the location really brings Copper Country history alive, with Bill and Mary collecting various stories over the years. Charming and romantic!
Directions to Sand Hills Lighthouse
Follow US 41 North to Ahmeek and turn left on the first street. Follow the signs for “5 Mile Point Rd.” through town then drive 8 miles. The road to the lighthouse will be on your left.