Photographer: Jeffrey W. Churill

Photographer: Keith W. Churill

Rear Range Light with Keepers House foundation

Photo courtesy of: U.S. Coast Guard

Photographer: Keith W. Churill

View looking up the Rear Range Light Staircase

 

Old South Channel Range

Harsens Island, MI

Built: 1859, 1875, 1915

Construction: Conical, Brick / Block

Status: Rear - Inactive / Front - Active

Location: Lake St. Clair, MI.

Rear Range

 Lat.  42 32' 38" N  -  Long.  82 41' 40" W

Height: Front 17 feet, Rear 40 feet

Access: Boat, approximately 4 miles from the Michigan mainland in Lake St. Clair. Approximately 1/2 mile from Southwestern corner of Harsens Island. Use caution around Lighthouses as the water is shallow and rocky with debris.

Click Here for Lighthouse Keepers

Photographer: Jeffrey W. Churill

Front Range Light with seawall for restoration purposes

Photo courtesy of: U.S. Coast Guard

Photographer: Keith W. Churill

Rear Range Light Entrance

Lighthouse History: These pair of Lighthouses were constructed in 1859 to guide vessels from Lake St. Clair into the St. Clair River. The rear range light, built on a stone foundation, is still surviving, and was originally equipped with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens. The front range light, built on a timber crib, began to settle and lean severely. In 1875 a new crib and tower were constructed replacing the front range light. At that time a keepers dwelling was also constructed at the rear range light. Service in the Rear Range light was discontinued in 1907. The Front Range Light, still active, was automated in 1970.

Today the front range light has started settle and lean once again. To prevent any further damage prior to restoration a seawall has been installed and back-filled to stabilize the light. The restoration is being coordinated by the S.O.S.C.L. (Save our South Channel Lights) association.

Photographer: Keith W. Churill

Original Keeper's House crib type foundation timbers.

Photographer: Keith W. Churill

A fairly well preserved lap dovetail tying joint.

Navigational History: The smaller vessels, when these lights were active, did not draw much water and could maneuver the sharper bends of the St. Clair River. As the size of these vessels grew, this region became more hazardous. Today shipping traffic uses a man-made channel called the "St. Clair Cutoff". This channel runs along the South side of Seaway Island removing some of these sharp river bends. Thus these lights were taken out of service.

Photographer: Keith W. Churill (3-18-01)


 

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