‘Iconic’ lighthouse gets historical marker

August 6, 2014
Original Lighthouse Seekers board members Mort Wiegand, Carl Wiegand, Yvonne Kessler and Claire Dennison unveil the historical marker at Little Sable Point Lighthouse. Mort is former president of the organization; Karl is current president; Claire is current secretary; and Yvonne is former treasurer.

Original Lighthouse Seekers board members Mort Wiegand, Carl Wiegand, Yvonne Kessler and Claire Dennison unveil the historical marker at Little Sable Point Lighthouse. Mort is former president of the organization; Karl is current president; Claire is current secretary; and Yvonne is former treasurer.

The front of the historical marker.

The front of the historical marker.

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

Steve Kantner (at right), who has admired the lighthouse for six decades at his summer residence in Silver Lake, holds a walking stick modeled after the lighthouse as Michigan Historical Commissioner Tom Truscott (at left) addresses the crowd. Peter Manting, executive director of Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association (SPLKA), stands next to the historical marker prior to the unveiling.

Steve Kantner (at right), who has admired the lighthouse for six decades at his summer residence in Silver Lake, holds a walking stick modeled after the lighthouse as Michigan Historical Commissioner Tom Truscott (at left) addresses the crowd. Peter Manting, executive director of Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association (SPLKA), stands next to the historical marker prior to the unveiling.

MEARS — A new historical marker was unveiled Wednesday morning at the beloved Little Point Sable Lighthouse near Silver Lake.

Several community members and lighthouse lovers attended the ceremony, which included speeches by Peter Manting, executive director of Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association (SPLKA); Michigan Historical Commissioner Tom Truscott; and Sen. Goeff Hansen (R-Hart).

The plaque contains historical information about the 140-year-old landmark.

Truscott spoke about the treasured history the lighthouse has “observed” over the last 14 decades, including the lumber era. “If it wasn’t for West Michigan’s white pines, the City of Chicago never

The back of the historical marker.

The back of the historical marker.

would have been rebuilt,” he said, referring to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that sparked the lumbering industry in West Michigan. Construction of the lighthouse began in 1873, and it was completed in 1874. The famous structure was necessary to aide in navigating around the “Petite Pointe Au Sable” or “little point of sand.” Prior to the lighthouse’s construction, several shipwrecks occurred near the hazardous site, including the 1871 beaching of the schooner, “Pride.”

After the lumber was cleared from the area, the agricultural industry that is so prominent in Oceana County began. Then, the area’s thriving tourism industry ignited. “This 140-year-old guy behind me has seen it all,” Truscott said.

Sen. Goeff Hansen (R-Hart) addresses the crowd.

Sen. Goeff Hansen (R-Hart) addresses the crowd.

“This lighthouse is iconic,” Hansen said, adding that he is fortunate to live in and represent an area so rich in natural beauty and recreational

resources, such as the many state parks.

Procuring the marker has been a two-year process, Manting said. There has also been an “extensive

effort to get the light back on,” he added. “The lense is the only third-order Fresnel lense along the Lake Michigan shoreline.” It beams out 15 miles.

A Michigan Historical marker helps SPLKA apply for grant money to maintain the 108-foot-tall lighthouse.

For more information about the SPLKA, visit splka.org. See related story historical-marker-at-lighthouse.

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