Round Island Lighthouse

First lit in 1895
Automated in 1924
Deactivated in 1947
Relit in 1996
Annual Open House

Page 2 - interior Round Island Lighthouse photos

Lighthouses of the Straits of Mackinac
Mighty Mac Home

Round Island Lighthouse in winter from Mackinac Island, Michigan

Round Island Lighthouse in October 2013
Round Island Lighthouse in the Straits of Mackinac is one of the most famous and most photographed lighthouses in the State of Michigan. While only a few people actually visit the light, Round Island is located just across the shipping lane from Mackinac Island and hundreds of thousands of tourists pass within a half mile of the 119 year old lighthouse on ferries to the island from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.

Round Island is a tiny (378 acre) uninhabited island where there has been no commercial activity for over 100 years. The entire island is part of Hiawatha National Forest and all of Round Island, but the one acre spit of rock and sand occupied by the lighthouse is designated as Wilderness. Normal access to the island is only by private boat or (during some winters) over the ice. The one exception is the second Saturday in July when the Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society hosts an open house and arranges for charter boat service from Mackinac Island. Photos from visiting Round Island Lighthouse.

Round Island Lighthouse was built in 1895 with a 57' brick tower and a wooden frame building providing quarters for a Lighthouse Keeper, Assistant Keeper, and their families. The lighthouse was first lit on May 15th, 1896 and a fog signal was added later that year. The light was automated in 1924.

In 1947 the light was deactivated and replaced by the automated Round Island Passage Light, which was placed in the water on the far side of the shipping lane. The Coast Guard stopped maintaining the building a few years later later and it slowly deteriorated until a storm in 1972 docked down a corner of the building.

In 1974 Round Island Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places and work to stabilize the structure began. It was restored enough for the building to be used in 1979 as the backdrop for a scene in the movie "Somewhere in Time" with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

Further restoration and preservation work in 1995 led to the Coast Guard granting permission to relight the Round Island Light and it was relit in 1996. The Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, and Boy Scouts of America Troop 323 from Freeland, Michigan have continued to improve the structure in the intervening years.

Note: the July 9, 2016 Open House has been cancelled.

The 9th Annual Round Island Lighthouse Open House is scheduled for July 9, 2016 from 10AM - 4PM. More details will be posted at roundislandlightmichigan.com/openhouse as the become available. In 2015, tours of the lighthouse were free and the boat ride from the Coal Dock on Mackinac Island was $15/round trip.

Straits of Mackinac Lighthouses - Great Lakes Straits of Mackinac lighthouses

McGulpin Point Lighthouse - Mackinaw City, Michigan
Touring Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

McGulpin Point Lighthouse - Mackinaw City, Michigan
McGulpin Point Lighthouse

Mackinac Bridge - Straits of Mackinac Straits of Mackinac Lighthouse Tour by Air

Round Island Lighthouse interior photos

Stewart J. Cort, Round Island Passage Light, Round Island Lighthouse
The 1000' long Stewart J. Cort passes between Round Island Passage Light and Round Island Lighthouse in 2012.

ROund Island Lighthouse from the air
Round Island Lighthouse in 2013  - the two small structures at right are the original brick outhouse and oil house.

Round Island Lighthouse from Mackinac Island
Round Island Lighthouse in March 2008

ROund Island Lighthouse with smow and ice
Round Island Lighthouse in March 2014

Closeup of Round Island Lighthouse
A family visiting Round Island Lighthouse from a private boat in 2012.

Filiming Somewhere in Time at Round Island Lighthouse
Filming Somewhere in Time in 1979 - Christopher Reeve is standing, wearing the vest and hat. Photo by Capt. Jim Francis.

Round Island Lighthouse model
Round Island Lighthouse model built by a grandchild of Frank Rounds, a carpenter who worked on the lighthouse and the Grand Hotel.
This is displayed at the Stuart House City Museum on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

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Mighty Mac Home

Copyright 2008-2016 by Keith Stokes