Grand Island is in Lake Superior not far from the town of Munising. Most people are familiar with the East Channel Lighthouse with its weathered wooden siding looking towards the shoreline of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The old Grand Island Lighthouse sits on the northern edge of the island on a tall cliff overlooking Lake Superior.
The lighthouse was constructed in 1866 to replace an old decrepit light that was built in 1844. In 1961 a metal post with a battery operated light replaced the lighthouse and it was decommissioned. Dr. Loren Graham, a history professor at Harvard, and his wife Patrica a historian and dean at Harvard purchased the dilapidated old lighthouse in 1972. While remodeling the old building they found a newspaper with an article about the body of the assistant lighthouse keeper being found in a rowboat floating offshore. Keeper Genry had also disappeared and it was 15 years later that his body was found washed up on shore 20 miles from Munising. After an investigation, it has never been determined what happened to the two men.
Dr. Graham had researched the men’s mysterious death for 30 years and published a book detailing what he believed had happened to them. It is a fascinating book. In the middle of the book, he digresses into the history of the Upper Peninsula and the Native American culture and European mining immigrants. The book then circles back the death of the two keepers. Peoples culture and experiences lead them to believe what happened to the two men. Not only is the book a compelling mystery, but it is also a well written brief history of the Upper Peninsula. If you are looking for something to read this winter I highly recommend Death at The Lighthouse: A Grand Island Riddle which you can see HERE. I think it has been out of print for a while so you may have to get a copy from your local library if the bookstore does not have it.
P.S. As far as I know, the Lighthouse still remains privately owned. I hope I get the chance to see it someday.
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