Hidden among the trees in northern Michigan and along the shores of Lake Huron in the Cheboygan State Park are the ruins of the old Cheboygan Point Lighthouse.
The first light at Cheboygan Point was built in 1851. There was a dwelling and a separate 40′ round brick tower, which was fitted with a Fifth Order Fresnel lens made by L. Saultier & Company of Paris. The light was built on a pier and after only eight years of service, high water was washing away at the foundation and the light tower was removed.
In 1859 the station was rebuilt as an eight foot square wooden tower resting atop a two-story eight room dwelling. The new tower rose 22 feet above the house and included the same white light which was used in the earlier tower. In May of 1890, a standard locomotive steam fog signal was installed in a separate building.
When the nearby Fourteen Foot Shoal Light was constructed offshore in 1930, the old Cheboygan Light Station was abandoned and the land was deeded to the State of Michigan. Following the vandalism, the buildings were dismantled in the 1940s when George Kling, son of Fred Kling, the last keeper of the lighthouse, purchased the station’s boathouse for $1 and moved it to his home in Cheboygan to serve as a garage. Bill Singer acquired the lighthouse and sold its materials to Bert Toles, who used them to build three small houses. All that remains today is the foundation from the old lighthouse, which you can see along the hiking trails at Cheboygan state park.
Besides guiding ships through the straits of Mackinaw the lighthouse marked the entrance to Duncan Bay and Duncan City on the opposite side of the bay from the lighthouse. Once the county seat of Cheboygan County(1853-1857), Named after Jeremiah Duncan who started lumbering in the area the city was a company town with a population of about 500 in its heyday, and also a refueling stop for Great Lakes steamships. Duncan City began to lose its importance when the Cheboygan River was dredged out deeper, thus allowing more shipping traffic to go to Cheboygan itself. The final blow for Duncan City came in 1898 when the sawmill burned to the ground. The property is now all residential and privately owned and nothing remains of the city today.
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