Digest>Archives> March 2008

South Fox Island Gets Much Needed Help


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Close up view of the South Fox Island skeleton ...

Last summer was good for Michigan's South Fox Island Light Station. The lighthouse complex is being preserved in the combined efforts of the Fox Island Lighthouse Association (FILA) and others to help protect and stabilize these historic island structures. An isolated maritime complex, it is located almost seventeen miles off-shore of the Leelanau County coastline in ever unpredictable Lake Michigan. This makes preserving this light and her adjacent buildings quite a daunting task. The whims of the winds and weather rule.

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This aerial vintage photograph shows both the old ...

Yet, much work was accomplished this past summer. The boathouse was cleared of rocks, the heavily lopsided structure trued, temporarily supported, repaired and partially re-roofed. The adjacent pier and walkways were cleared of stones that time and elements had strewn ashore. Over 100 feet of additional sidewalks were cleared of overgrowth and thick humus throughout the lighthouse property.

The completion of the painting of the oil house was the highlight of the groups painting projects. Both the metal roof and door as well as the brick exterior are once again protected from the elements for the first time in fifty years. After clearing much brush from around the workshop, a priming coat of paint was applied to the walls. A rotted threshold was replaced, the front door was re-built, windows were re-caulked and temporary repairs to the roof were made. The fog signal building's upper story had suffered extensive water damage from the poorly secured door that formerly led to the skeletal light tower. That door was secured and broken windows were replaced.

Last year they gained access to the steel skeletal tower for the first time. Initially, this involved many man-hours clearing a path through thick brush. Then the condition of the tower was assessed and the logistics for the installation of

a web cam including power supply and transmitter were determined. This system will provide real-time views of the southern end of the island and thus both increase the security of the station and provide for virtual tourism through the FILA website and a monitor at the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum in Northport, Michigan.

To learn more about the Fox Island Lighthouse Association you can visit their web site at www.southfox.org or write to them P.O. Box 43, Northport, MI 49670.

This story appeared in the March 2008 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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