While I was researching the history of the old Saginaw River lighthouse, I came across some interesting stories of the old lighthouse being haunted. The current lighthouse was built in 1876 in a swampy area north of Bay City to guide ships into the mouth of the Saginaw River, replacing an earlier light that was built in 1831. The Lighthouse was deactivated in the 1960’s, but still used by the coastguard as living quarters until the 70’s, when a new station was built across the river. Servicemen stationed there claimed to have heard footsteps inside the old lighthouse, even though he was the only one there and all the doors were locked.
The mystery of the footsteps are believed to be one of two light keepers that died while serving at the lighthouse.Peter Brown was appointed Keeper of the old Lighthouse in 1866, being disabled he had help from his son, and his wife Julia to maintain the light. Keeper Peter Brown passed away in 1873 before the new range lights were built, but his family remained at the station, and Julia was placed in charge.
The new lighthouse was opened, and Julia served as head keeper until 1877, when George Way, whom Julia had married, was placed in charge of the light. Julia was made first assistant keeper, and served in this role until the position was abolished in October 1882. The position was reinstated the following spring, but the coast guard appointed Leonidus Charlton as the first assistant keeper. Keeper Way passed away in November 1883, and sixty-seven-year old Julia left the station, which had been her home for seventeen years. There are rumors that Julia may have murdered her husbands, to be Head Lighthouse keeper, but that has never been proven and it may be the spirits of the old lighthouse keepers that remain at the lighthouse.
The Lighthouse is on Dow, or I guess now it’s Dupont’s property, and is only open to the public on special occasions.
If you love Michigan lighthouse and ghost stories, be sure to check out the book Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses by Dianna Higgs Stampfler and available at bookstores and Amazon HERE.
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