Poverty Island is located in northern lake Michigan and one of several islands marking the entrance to Big Bay De Noc and Green Bay, as in the bay in lake Michigan, not the city. As shipping traffic increased on the Great Lakes it was decided that a light was needed to guide ships safely thru the chain of islands at the entrance to Green Bay. The U.S. Lighthouse Board commissioned a Lighthouse to be built on Poverty island in 1874 using the same design as the Lighthouse on Sturgeon Point near Harrisville on Lake Huron, ( you can read my post HERE) The Light was automated in 1958 and by 1965 the Lantern room at the top of the tower and the lens had been removed and replaced with an exposed electric light. The Light was permanently deactivated and abandoned in 1995 and the old discarded lantern room laying on the ground was retrieved and used to restore the Sand Point Lighthouse ( you can see my post HERE)
The Old abandoned Lighthouse, that’s on my ” Bucket List” of places to photograph, looks over the waters where treasure chests full of gold were tossed overboard into Lake Michigan. There are several theories of where the chests came from, one of them being, Jesse Strang the ” King of Beaver Island” and the leader of a Mormon colony on Beaver Island with the gold was collected from his followers. The plausible theory is that during the Civil War, a shipment of gold from Napoleon Bonaparte was being transported thru the great lakes down the Mississippi to fund the Confederate army. When a Union ship began attacking, the captain had the crew throw the treasure chests overboard in the waters off poverty island, so the gold could not be used by the Union Army, with the intention of retrieving it later.
There have been several expeditions and divers searching for the gold, and in 2001, the Great Lakes Exploration Group, lead by Steve Libert, came across a sunken ship, which is believed to be the wreck of the first sailing vessel on the great lakes, the Le Griffon built by french explorer 1679 to look for the northwest passage. (You can check out their website HERE)
I don’t know if the treasure will be found, or if there ever was a treasure, but the finding of the Le Griffon may be worth more than gold, but gold would be nice too.
Want to win a Lost In Michigan Book? to find out how CLICK HERE
It would really mean a lot to me if you Subscribe to Lost In Michigan