Manistee County
Historical Museum
    On June 30, 2011 the Manistee North Pierhead Light was
transferred from the Department of the Interior to the City of Manistee
and the Manistee County Historical Museum in a ceremony at Fifth
Avenue Beach.
    In November 2009 the City of Manistee made application to the
United States Department of the Interior National Park Service to
transfer the decommissioned lighthouse to the City.  Early in 2010 the
City of Manistee received notification that the transfer has been
    A component of the application was a Concession Agreement with
the Manistee County Historical Museum. The Museum will act as
stewards for the Lighthouse and will be in charge of the Restoration
   The Manistee North Pierhead Light is listed on the National Registry
of Historic Places. The Lighthouse has one of the four remaining
catwalks on Lake Michigan. This catwalk is already owned and
maintained by the City of Manistee. This preservation effort began in
1990. Due to safety concerns the Catwalk is not accessible to the
    The Manistee North Pierhead Light’s National Register period of
significance has been determined to be Ca. 1925-1940. This is the
sixth structure in a 58 year period of continual modernization of the
Manistee Lighthouse.
    The Manistee North Pierhead Light is a tapering steel cylindrical
tower, 38 feet tall with a nine sided eight foot lantern atop. The light is
atop a U.S. Corps of Engineers 1,300 foot concrete pier approximately
a quarter mile from the shoreline. The pier originates on the shoreline
immediately adjacent to a public parking lot reached by Fifth Avenue
and Lakeshore Drive. The U.S. Coast Guard Station is adjacent to the
public parking lot. The adjacent shoreline is a municipal beach (Fifth
Avenue Beach) and park.
    Manistee has been a major port, at one time the third busiest port
on Lake Michigan, since the 1850's. It began with the export of lumber.
Lumber continued to be a major export till the beginning of the 20th
Century joined by salt in the late 19th Century. Salt, brine, and
chemicals continue to be exported today. Many of the industries
around Manistee Lake use great lake shipping as part of their
    The first lighthouse marking the Manistee Harbor was built on shore
in 1869. In 1875 the light was moved to the south pier and in 1893 the
light was moved to the north pier. In the 1920's the Corps of Engineers
completely rebuilt the north pier. In 1926 construction began on the
current lighthouse with completion in 1927. The pier, catwalk, and
lighthouse stand together as a symbol to the people of Manistee of the
importance of the port during the late 19th and early 20th Century.
     Restoration plans include removal of hazardous materials,
repainting the exterior and interior of the lighthouse and make
necessary repairs to the interior of the lighthouse. After the renovation
is complete, the Lighthouse will then become a museum that will be
open for public tours. The long range plan also calls for a virtual tour
on the internet of the facility that will allow people of all abilities to
enjoy the Lighthouse.
      If you are interested in helping with the Restoration please call the
Manistee County Historical Museum at 231.723.5531.
     If you wish to donate to the project please send your checks to the
Manistee County Historical Museum, 425 River Street, Manistee, MI  
Currently the Manistee County Historical Museum is in the process of restoring the Manistee North Pierhead
Lighthouse located on Fifth Avenue Beach in Manistee. For more information on how you can help restore the
Lighthouse, please contact the Museum at (231) 723-5531 or by e-mail at:
Lighthouse RFP Information
Asterisk * in schedule means that
dates are applicable to contractors.