Focal Heights Seeing The Light

Height from Lake Level to Focal Plane

Home

Back

The Focal planes of US Western Great Lakes lighthouses varied greatly, from the Dunlap Reef Front Range light which shone its light a scant 17 feet above the waters of Sturgeon Bay to the lofty Grand Island lighthouse, with its light thrown from the top of a majestic cliff 205 feet above Lake Superior. 

For the purpose of this listing, focal plane is defined as the distance from the mean lake level to the optical center of the lens, which was the most common metric used by the Lighthouse Board and Lighthouse Service, and is still used today by the Coast Guard. This list was compiled from a number of sources. Each entry in the list below is related to its source document, a list of which appear at the bottom of this page. If you feel you have any additions or corrections to this list, please feel free to email me. 

   Lights with focal heights above 200 feet

205' - Grand Island6

Lights with focal heights between 100 and 199 feet

197 - Huron Island6
168 - Split Rock6
159 - Pottawatomie6
154 - North Point6
130 - Outer Island6
125 - White Shoal8
123 - Presque Isle6
119 - Grosse Point3
117 - Rock of Ages6
113 - Twin River Point6
112 - Michigan Island6

108 - Little Sable6
108 - Big Bay Point6
107 - Sturgeon Bay Canal6
107 - Au Sable6
106 - Big Sable6
104 - South Manitou6
104 - Munising Rear Range6
103 - Beaver Island6
102 - Stannard Rock6
102 - McGulpin Point3
100 - Devils Island6

Lights with focal heights between 80 feet and 99 feet

99 - St. Joseph Main6
98 - Vidal Shoals Channel Rear6
97 Taylorsport1
93 - Sand Hills8
93 - Granite Island6
89 - Pointe aux Barques6
86 - Spectacle Reef6
85 - Rock Harbor1
84 - St. Martin Island6
82 - Fort Gratiot6

82 - Grays Reef9
82 - Minneapolis Shoal9
81 - Manitou6
80 - Cana Island6
80 - Seul Choix Pointe6
80 - Poverty Island6
80 - Plum Island Range Rear6
80 - Port Austin Reef6
80 Sheboygan11

Lights with focal heights from 70  to 79 feet

79 - North Manitou Shoal10
78 - Middle Island6
78 - Two Harbors6
78 - Passage Island6
77 - Munising Front Range6
77 - Raspberry Island6
77 - Marquette6
76 - Whitefish Point9
76 Southport11
76 - Eagle Bluff6
75 - Detour6
75 - Cheboygan River Rear Range6
75 - Isle Royale6
75 - Little Fort11

74 - Detour Reef10
74 Waugoshance3
72 - Frankfort North Breakwater10
72 - Racine Reef6
72 - Point Iroquois6
71 - St. Helena3
71 - Poe Reef8
70 - Tawas Point6
70 - LaPointe6
70 - North Manitou6
70 - Grand Island Harbor Rear6
70 - Superior Entry South Breakwater6
70 - Grand River Main1
70 - Port Clinton1

Lights with focal heights from 60 to 69 feet

69 - Sturgeon Point6
69 - Duluth Rear6
69 - Port Sanilac6
69 - Lansing Shoal9
68 - Portage River6
68 - Chambers Island6
67 - Chicago Harbor6
67 - Milwaukee Breakwater8
67 - South Fox Island6
66 - Cedar River6
66 - Frankfort Pierhead Rear6
66 - Forty Mile Point6
66 - Portage Lake Ship Canals6

65 - Ludington South Pierhead6
65 - Ashland Breakwater8
65 - Martin Reef8
65 - Copper Harbor6
63 - Manitowoc11
62 - Crisp Point6
62 - Old Mackinac Point8
61 - Saginaw River Rear Range6
61 - Charlevoix North Pierhead6
61 - Sherwood Point6
61 - Eagle River2
60 - Fourteen Mile Point6
60 - Michigan City1

Lights with focal heights from 50 to 59 feet

59 - Thunder Bay Island6
58 - Ile aux Galets
6
58 - Eagle Harbor
6
57 - Squaw Island
6
57 - Green Island
6
57 - White River
6
56 - Sand Island
6
54 - Grand Marais Harbor of Refuge Rear
6
54 - Baileys Harbor11
54 - Harbor Beach
6
54 - Cheboygan Main
6
53 - Round Island
6
53 - St. Joseph Pierhead Rear
6

53 - Kalamazoo6
53 - Bois Blanc
6
52 - Grand Haven Pierhead Rear
6
52 - Point Betsie
6
51 - Fourteen Foot Shoal8
50 - Kenosha
6
50 - Sheboygan Pierhead
6
50 - Michigan City East Pierhead
6
50 - Muskegon Pierhead Rear
6
50 - Minnesota Point2
50 - Gull Rock
6
50 - Manistique East Breakwater8

Lights with focal heights from 40 feet to 49 feet

48 - Pilot Island6
48 - Racine Pierhead12
47 - Ontonagon6
47 - Windmill Point12
47 - Grand Traverse6
46 - Racine Pierhead6
46 - Frankfort Pierhead Front6
46 - Duluth North Pier6
45 - Charity Island6
45 - Holland Rear6
45 - Manistee Main6
45 - Kewaunee Pierhead8
45 - Round Island12
44 - Sand Point6
44 - Mendota6

44 - Duluth Front6
43 - Mission Point6
42 - Cheboygan River Front Range6
42 - Port Washington Pierhead6
42 - Chequamegon Point6
42 - Alpena6
41 - Vidal Shoals Channel Front6
41 - Little Traverse6
41 - Milwaukee South Pierhead6
41 - Manitowoc Breakwater8
40 - Grand Marais Harbor of Refuge Front6
40 - Calumet Harbor6
40 - Sturgeon Bay Canal Pierhead6
40 - Point Peninsula6
40 - Marquette Breakwater6

Lights with focal heights from 30 feet to 39 feet

39 - Dunlap Reef rear6
39 - Sand Point6
39 - Copper Harbor Rear6
38 - Grand Marais7
38 - Beaver Island Harbor6
38 - Portage Lake Rear6
38 - Tail Point6
38 - Port DU Morts11
37 - Round Island
6
37 - Saginaw River Front Range
6
37 - South Haven Pierhead
6
37 - Algoma Pierhead8
37 - Pipe Island
6
37 - Portage River Pierhead
6
36 - Grand Haven Pierhead Front
6
36 - Waukegan Harbor
6
36 - Presque Isle Rear
6
36 - Baileys Harbor Rear
6
36 - Muskegon Main11
35 - Two Rivers Pierhead
6
35 - Cheboygan Crib
6

35 Mamajuda1
35 - Grassy Island1
35 - Frankfort South Pierhead6
34 - Petoskey Pierhead6
34 - Menominee Pierhead6
34 - Grassy Island Upper6
34 - Grand Island Harbor2
34 - Au Sable Pierhead6
33 - Manistee Pierhead6
33 - Two Harbors Breakwater6
33 - Pentwater Pierhead Rear6
33 - White River Pierhead6
32 - Plum Island Range Front6
31 - Ontonagon Pierhead6
31 - St. Joseph Pierhead Front6
31 - Muskegon Pierhead Front6
30 - Holland Front6
30 - Grand Haven North Pierhead6
30 - Ludington North Breakwater6
30 - Ludington South Breakwater6

Lights with focal heights of less than 30 feet

27 - Grassy Island Lower6
25 - Pentwater Pierhead Front
6
23 - Grand Island Harbor Front
6
23 - Portage Lake Front
6
22 - Copper Harbor Front
6

21 - Baileys Harbor Front6
19 - Frying Pan Island
6
18 - Presque Isle Front
6
17 - Dunlap Reef Front
6

Lights with yet to be determined focal heights
New Buffalo

Sources

1  - 1857 Light List
2
  - 1871 Great Lakes Light List
3  - 1878 Great Lakes Light List
4  - 1898 Great Lakes Light List
5  - 1909 Station Survey
- 1910 Great Lakes Light List
- 1917 Great Lakes Light List

8  - 1931 Great Lakes Light List
- 1937 Great Lakes Light List
10 - 1940 Great Lakes Light List
11 - 1868 Light List
12 - 1930 description of station
13 - 1934 Lake Carriers Annual Report

This page last updated 05/18/2008                 Copyright Terry Pepper

Home Back