Little Traverse Lighthouse

The Little Traverse Light is located in Emmet County in the U.S. state of Michigan on the north side of the Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan on Harbor Point in West Traverse Township near Harbor Springs, Michigan. It marks the entrance to Little Traverse Bay.


In 1871, Orlando M. Poe recommended the construction of this light. However, a paucity of funds delayed the United States Congress in acting on the request.

The site was purchased in 1883, and the United States Lighthouse Service built the light in 1884.

The decagonal lantern room is painted white and has a red roof. The fourth order Fresnel lens was manufactured in Paris by L. Sautter, Lemonnie & Co. in 1881.

A "very rare" fog bell square pyramidal tower was built in 1896 in front of the tower. The structure and the striking mechanism are still in place. Other structures included a brick paint locker, summer kitchen, wooden boat storage shed, and auto garage

The lighthouse was manned by personnel until 1963 when a modern replacement light and tower was constructed, consisting of a white steel skeleton on a foundation of concrete. It is 62 feet (19 m) tall, with a focal plane of 72 ft (22 m), It emits a green flash every six seconds. It is located on the point east of the lighthouse.

It is very difficult to visit the lighthouse as it is located on private property and unless you own a house in the gated community or are a guest you are not allowed inside. There is checkpoint that is manned 24 hours a day at the entrance.

This unique lighthouse has been the subject of paintings.

Elizabeth Whitley VanRiper Williams was one of the first female Lighthouse keepers to serve on the Great Lakes, and wrote a memoir that included her experiences at this light.