The first Lighthouse built on Point Aux Barques near the tip of the Thumb guided sailors and ships across Lake Huron after it was built in 1847. It withstood the Michigan storms and even survived the Great Fire of 1881 because the men of the life-saving station created a bucket brigade to douse the flames surrounding the lighthouse. Two years after the lighthouse was constructed first the Lighthouse keeper died. Peter Shook and three other sailors drowned when their boat capsized while sailing to Port Huron for supplies and in 1849. His wife Catherine Shook became Michigan’s first female lightkeeper. They had 8 children and she cared for them while maintaining the lighthouse. Some say that her spirit still roams the shoreline in a white dress mourning the loss of her husband.
The original lighthouse and dwelling were replaced in 1857 with the present 89-foot tower and attached house. In 1908, the brick assistant keeper’s house was built. The lighthouse was fully automated in 1934. Five years later the last keeper retired, and the lifesaving station, made up of 15 buildings was decommissioned. The light is still used as an aid to navigation today but the house is used as a museum.
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