Trip Reports

For Whom The Old Presque Isle Bell Tolls

Kayaker Bryan Hansel

The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse was built in 1840 and operated until 1871. It’s one of the oldest surviving lighthouses on the Great Lakes. The park preserves both the old keepers house and the light. When originally restored, the owner used wood from a nearby shipwreck, so the interior features knotted wood with lots of holes. He also used all the doors from the ship to replace interior doors, which gives the keeper’s house a wonderful nautical feel. When I was there, the park volunteer had a small fire burning in the fireplace, which made the house feel even more welcoming. After being rescued from a shipwreck, it would have felt like heaven warming in front of the fireplace.

The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse tower is built from brick and stone. The rock steps are hand-hewn and make a wonderful echo throughout the structure when stepped on. A short climb takes you up to the old light area, although the light is gone, you get a view of the surrounding woods which seem to envelop the mowed yard and light. The 2,080-pound Lansing City Hall clock tower bell, which is bigger than the Liberty Bell, now finds it home on the property. Visitors can ring the bell. The lighthouse is reputed to be haunted by the former museum caretaker George Parris. People claim to see him lighting the light or visiting with strangers. I didn’t see him if he’s around.

I really enjoyed this stop on my trip. It was the first museum that I was able to stop at, so I spent an hour or so there checking out the old fog horns and other artifacts and visiting with the friendly volunteer.

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse Video

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