There are several lighthouses in Michigan, about 150 of them if you really wanna know, and the Livingston memorial light is one of the most unique, not only in Michigan but in the United States. It’s one of only 3 lights erected as a memorial in Michigan and the only navigational light constructed of marble in the country.
William Livingston was a prominent businessman in Detroit and served as president of the Lake Carriers Association. He was instrumental in having the government expanding the Soo locks and deepening and widening the channel in the St Mary’s river. He also worked on the project building a waterway for downbound ships in the lower Detroit River, which opened in 1908, and named the Livingstone Channel in his honor. During the early 1900’s, more ships and more tonnage passed by Detroit than through either the Suez or Panama canals.
After his death in 1925, as a tribute to Livingston, the city of Detroit donated the property on Belle Isle and funds were raised by the Lakes Carriers Association to build the $100,000 tower designed by famed Detroit architect Albert Kahn. The flouted art deco tower is made of white georgian marble, and has a light that can be seen for 16 miles on Lake St Clair.
The was another lighthouse on the island before the memorial light was built. The Belle Isle lighthouse was constructed in 1881 in the location where the coast guard station is now. Keeper Louis Fetes lived at the lighthouse for nearly 40 years and he and his wife raised their six children on the island, in 1930 the light was automated and by the 40’s the old forgotten lighthouse began to decay and the coast guard demolished it. I found a photo of the old lighthouse on the coast guards website and it was a beautiful victorian looking lighthouse, it’s sad the house is no longer standing, I think it would be one of the most beautiful lighthouses in Michigan.
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