Standing on a tall rocky bluff overlooking Lake Superior is the Big Bay Point Lighthouse built in 1897 near the town of Big Bay. The House was built as a duplex with one side for the head lighthouse keeper and the other for the assistant keeper. Those who worked at Big Bay Point were truly isolated. The keepers’ wives not only had to do the usual housekeeping and food preparation, but also schooling of any children in residence.
The first keeper William Prior made the 24 mile walk to Marquette to visit his dying sister, after her funeral he walked back to the lighthouse, to see the assistant keeper did not fulfill his duties, after firing him and a couple more concomitant assistant keepers, Prior hired his son George to be the assistant keeper. Just over a year after he was hired, he fell on the steps of the landing crib. Keeper Prior took him to the hospital in Marquette on April 18, 1901, and his son passed away roughly two months later on June 13. His son’s death drove him into a deep depression, and on June 28 he disappeared into the woods with his gun and some strychnine. It was feared that he had gone off to kill himself. A search party was sent out, but they were not able to find him.
Over a year later, the following entry was made in the station log:
Mr. Fred Babcock came to the station 12:30 pm. While hunting in the woods one and a half mile south of the station this noon he found a skeleton of a man hanging to a tree. We went to the place with him and found that the clothing and everything tally with the former keeper of this station who has been missing for seventeen months.
By 1941 the light was automated and in 1951 – 1952, the building and land were leased to the U.S. Army. Soldiers were stationed at the lighthouse for two-week periods of anti-aircraft artillery training. Large guns were placed on the cliff near the lighthouse, and targets were towed by planes over Lake Superior for practice. The soldiers lived in the meadow and woods to the west of the lighthouse. One of the soldiers stationed at the lighthouse murdered the owner of the Lumberjack Tavern, in the town of Big Bay, for raping his wife. The book and movie Anatomy Of A Murder are based on the crime.
1961 the Lighthouse and surrounding property were sold to a private owner. Today it is the only operational lighthouse with a bed and breakfast, rumor is the lighthouse is still haunted by the ghost of Keeper Prior, I am not sure it is, but I do know it is a beautiful lighthouse, and would be a nice place to say at.
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