Region Beacons: Lighthouses abound the local lakeshore

2013-08-13T10:00:00Z 2013-08-13T15:33:05Z Region Beacons: Lighthouses abound the local lakeshoreChristine Bryant Times Correspondent
August 13, 2013 10:00 am  • 

Visiting lighthouses is a favorite vacation activity to do down the East Coast, but those in Northwest Indiana don't have to venture far to find these lakeside beauties.

Within 100 miles of Munster, there are more than a dozen lighthouses to view - some of which are located right here in the region.

1. Michigan City Pierhead

One of the most recognizable lighthouses in this area is the Michigan City Pierhead.

Visitors to Michigan City can walk down the catwalk and tour the outside of what has become a symbol of Michigan City and a favorite spot for photographers.

After Michigan City residents rallied to save the structure after the U.S. Coast Guard initially wanted to remove the catwalk because of its maintenance costs, the lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Tim Frame, the harbormaster for the Michigan City Port Authority, said while the lighthouse itself isn't open to the public, it is still used as an aid to navigation by the Coast Guard.

"People can walk out to the lighthouse and walk around it, though," he said. "It's a popular spot to watch the sunset in the summer."

Michigan City acquired the lighthouse in 2007, which is best accessed through Washington Park.

Location: Latitude: 41.72899, Longitude: -86.91172


2. Old Michigan City Lighthouse

Just minutes away from the Michigan City Pierhead Lighthouse is the Old Michigan City Lighthouse.

Located in Washington Park at the southern end of Lake Michigan, the lighthouse is now a museum operated by the Michigan City Historical Society.

The lighthouse is the oldest remaining lighthouse in Indiana, and visitors can visit the past by touring the 1858 structure and climbing the tower into the lantern room.

The museum is celebrating its 40th year this year.

Location: Latitude: 41.72274, Longitude: -86.90606


3. St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouse

Lighthouse lovers will get two lighthouses for one when visiting St. Joseph, Mich.

The St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouse features both an outer light and an inner light - essentially two lighthouses located on the same catwalk.

Christina Arseneau, museum director at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph, said the U.S. Coast Guard currently is in the process of transferring ownership of the lights to the city.

For more than 100 years, mariners have lined up the two lights to better find the entrance to the harbor.

"Probably the most interesting fact is that it is one of the only two range light systems on Lake Michigan - the other at Grand Haven," Arseneau said.


4. Chicago Harbor Lighthouse

One of the most viewed Lighthouses along Lake Michigan likely is the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, visible from the popular tourist attraction, Navy Pier.

It's located on a detached breakwater in the Chicago Harbor, and the city of Chicago designated it a Chicago Landmark in 2003.

Though not open for tours, boaters and dinner cruises taking off from Navy Pier explore the waters around the 1893 lighthouse, as the city of Chicago provides a picturesque backdrop for photographers.


Other lighthouses

5. Waukegan Lighthouse

Location: At the end of Government Pier in the harbor at Waukegan Harbor, Ill.


6. Grosse Point Lighthouse

Location: 2601 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Ill.


7. Chicago Harbor Southeast Guidewall

Location: At the end of a guide wall at the entrance to the Chicago River, just south of Navy Pier.


8. Calumet Lighthouse

Location: At the end of a, 6,714-foot breakwater that extends from the mouth of the Calumet River into Lake Michigan, just outside Calumet Park off U.S. 20 in Illinois.


9. Indiana Harbor Breakwater Light

Location: At the end of an industrial breakwater in Indiana Harbor just outside Whiting.


10. Buffington Harbor Breakwater

Location: At the end of a private breakwater in Buffington Harbor, Ind.


11. Gary Breakwater Lighthouse

Location: At the end of a private, industrial pier along the Gary waterfront.


12. South Haven South Pier

Location: South Haven, Mich., at the entrance to the Black River.


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