Point Betsie Lighthouse Web Site
This oldest standing structure in Benzie County, built in 1858, marks the all-important entrance to southern end of the Manitou Passage, a once-vital maritime shipping channel. Although the lane is no longer used by large commercial vessels, the operating light signal remains a US Coast Guard aid to navigation to this day, and the site shines as a treasured landmark to mariners and landlubbers alike. Because the USCG automated the light in 1983 and subsequently vacated the buildings in 1996, by 2004 it was possible to transfer title to Benzie County who, in turn, leased the site to the all-volunteer organization, Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse, Inc. In a strong partnership, the County and the Friends have set about renovating the deteriorating buildings. By 2006, they had completed a nearly $1 M exterior restoration phase. Further work continues on a barrier-free access, the Fog/Signal structure, and the interiors of both major buildings. The site has been open for tours and gift shopping, primarily on weekends from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, since 2002. The public beach adjacent to the site is easily accessed, although roadside parking is problematic and there are no public facilities available until reaching Frankfort, 4 mi south, or Platte River, 8 mi north, on M-22. Assistant Lightkeepers Quarter is now available for weekly rentals in season.