Point Iroquois Light Station & Museum
|Library of Congress|
This complex, part of the Hiawatha National Forest, brings together all the elements of the lighthouse mystique. The site is memorable. It's in a woods just back from a beautiful beach with ample deposits of driftwood and colored beach stones. A boardwalk makes the beach accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. At the lighthouse, weather permitting, visitors can climb the spiral iron stairway in the 65-foot tower (that's 72 steps) and get a fine view of the shipping lanes by the Soo Locks. Sometimes several freighters can be seen at once if weather or traffic has bunched ships at the locks. The view is especially memorable in fall color season.
At the museum, one apartment of the 1870 lighthouse is furnished to give an idea of the lightkeepers' everyday lives. Other rooms show lighthouse technology, the history of navigational aids, and photos from the lighthouse from the 1890s until its closing in 1962. This important light station housed three families.
At one time, a small school was held here. Betty Byrnes Bacon, who grew up here, recalled her life in the 1920s at this self-sufficient homestead in a delightful book, Lighthouse Memories. It's available at the attractive small museum shop. The shop is well supplied not only with books on lighthouses and Great Lakes maritime matters but with bird guides and other nature books, plus Smokey the Bear in various forms. The Bay Mills-Brimley Historical Research Society worked with the Forest Service to renovate the lighthouse and develop this museum.
On Lake Shore Dr. 5 miles west of Brimley and east of Paradise. (906) 437-5272. Open from May 15 thru October 15 daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tower sometimes stays open until 7 p.m. Free admission. Donations appreciated. Wheelchair-accessible: not lighthouse. 3 steps into lighthouse, tight spaces. Boardwalk loop to beach is accessible.
Photo: Dr. Ching-Kuang Shene, Michigan Technological University
Return to Bay Mills
POINTS OF INTEREST
Lakeshore Drive follows Lake Superior's Whitefish Bay. Before 1971 it was a muddy and sandy mess. Lakeshore Drive connects many beautiful places, most within the Hiawatha National Forest. The road has recently been improved, with more auto turnouts and restrooms. This drive is about 27 miles. The bay is not always in view, however.
These points of interest are arranged from east (Brimley) to west.
■ COZY INN.
■ DANCING CRANE COFFEEHOUSE.
■ SACY'S, BACK BAY BAR & GRILL.
■ In fall color season, you can experience a vivid Tunnel of Trees effect by turning inland (left if you're coming from Sault Ste. Marie) just west of the casino onto PLANTATION ROAD. It will eventually come out onto Ranger Road and Lakeshore.
■ MISSION HILL/SPECTACLE LAKE OVERLOOK.
■ POINT IROQUOIS LIGHT STATION & MUSEUM.
■ WILCOX FISH HOUSE.
■ BIG PINE PICNIC AREA.
■ MONOCLE LAKE.
■ BAY VIEW BEACH and CAMPGROUND. Except for campers at the Bay View campground, usually the stony beach here is virtually empty. The forest behind it has some really big red pines. It's part of the Hiawatha National Forest. From M-28 at Raco, take Forest Road 3154 to Dollar Settlement, turn west (left) 2 miles. (906) 635-5311. Free day use. Wheelchair access: no.
■ PENDILLS CREEK NATIONAL FISH HATCHERY.
■ INDIAN FISHING HISTORICAL MARKER & ROADSIDE PARK.
■ NORTH COUNTRY TRAIL SEGMENT.
Lakeshore Drive between Brimley and Naomikong Point. Everything from a scenic tunnel of trees to beaches, picnic spots, and fish restaurants along this inland drive ... more
Point Iroquois Light Station & Museum. Memorable 1870 lighthouse museum with furnished keeper's quarters, displays on lighthouse technology, navigational aids. Up from a beautiful beach. Climb the lighthouse tower for a great view of lake, shipping. ... more
Indian Fishing Historical Marker & roadside park. On a site with a sweeping Lake Superior beach, a marker tells the story of a Bay Mills fishing case ruling on the the U.S. Supreme Court decided that Indians never signed away their right to fish for a living. ... more