Photo courtesy of: Detour Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society

Photograph taken in late 2000 after the installation of the reconstructed / restored hoist

Photo courtesy of: Detour Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society

The original on-shore light station as seen in 1914.

DeTour Reef Light

Detour, MI

Built :  1931

Type : Square, brick

Status : Active

Location : Northern Lake Huron. Approximately (1) mile South of DeTour, MI 

Height : 80 feet

Access : Boat

Photo courtesy of: U.S. Coast Guard

The original Third-and-a-half Order Fresnel lens made by Barbier, Benard & Turenne of Paris. Currently on display at the Detour Passage Historical Museum in Detour Village

Photo courtesy of:  D.R.L.P.S.

DeTour and it's lighthouse: The village of DeTour is located on the Southeastern tip of Michigan's upper peninsula. Vessels enter the St. Mary's River here as they make their passage from Lake Huron to Lake Superior. A lighthouse has been near this village since 1848, originally located on the mainland just South of the village. In 1861, the land based light station (shown above) was rebuilt similar to the Manitou Island Light on Lake Superior. The lighthouse has since been replaced, with the staircase, lens and lantern room and watch room still used today in the current off-shore lighthouse seen above.

History of the Light : In 1919, commercial vessel traffic in the Detour area averaged 77 vessels per day. One mile off-shore, at the end of DeTour Reef, the present structure was constructed and completed in 1931 at a cost of $140,000 and 327 working days. Construction of the foundation and a 60 feet square by 20 feet tall concrete pier is very similar to the nearby Martin Reef Lighthouse. The base structure is steel framed measuring 31 feet square. A 12 feet square tower with a 10 sided, 9 feet inscribed diameter watch room and lantern room are mounted atop the base. A total height of 63 feet is measured from the top of the pier to the top of the ventilator ball. The lens, watch room and lantern room are from the original land based lighthouse.

The lighthouse originally exhibited a Third-and-a-half Order Fresnel lens with four flash panels, made by Barbier, Benard & Turenne of Paris. Each panel has a bull's-eye and concentric circular prism in the central drum producing 10 second intervals between flashes.

Photographer: Roy B. Westin

The lens completes one revolution every 40 seconds with a lens focal plane of 74 feet above water level with a range of 17 miles. The original lens is now on display at the Detour Passage Historical Museum in Detour Village. Automated in 1974, the lighthouse still houses the original clockwork mechanism that operated the light.

Keeper Note: Charles R. Jones was one of the last civilian light keepers on the Great Lakes. He began working as a keeper in the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1922 and served at DeTour Point from 1940 through 1963.

 

Restoration:

The lighthouse is currently being fully restored by the DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society. They can be contacted for DRLPS membership or lighthouse information at:

DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society

P.O. Box 519

DeTour Village, MI 49725

phone: 906-297-8888, 906-297-5704

DRLPS is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization

Donations are Tax deductable - EIN 38-3387252


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