Forty Mile Point Lighthouse / Graveyard of Ships
Forty Mile Point Lighthouse
During the late 1800s, the U.S. Lighthouse Board created a system of coastal lights along Lake Huron's Michigan shore so that mariners would always be within sight of at least one. With a light south of Forty Mile Point on the Presque Isle Peninsula and one one to the north at Cheboygan, and eighteen mile stretch of shoreline remained unlighted and dangerous. In1890 the board recommended that a light be built at Forty Mile Point. The light was completed in 1896, and Xavier Rains served as the first keeper, The lighthouse was transferred to Presque Isle County in 1998, but the Coast Guard retained ownership of its Fresnal lens. The site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
Graveyard of Ships
Named by seventeenth century French explores La Mer Douce the sweet or freshwater sea, Lake Huron is the second largest of the five Great Lakes. It has over 3,800 miles of shoreline and contains 30,000 islands, among them Manitoulin, the world's largest freshwater island. Violent storms on the "sweet sea" have made it dangerous for ships. As of 2006, 1,200 wrecks had been recorded. During the Big Blow of 1905, twenty-seven wooden vessels were lost. One of these, the steamer Joseph S. Fay, ran aground. A portion of its hull rests on the beach approximately 200 feet north of the Forty Mile Lighthouse. The Great Storm of 1913 was responsible for sinking many modern ships.