The Charlevoix Lighthouse overlooks Lake Michigan, nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan and the Pine River Channel. This historic lighthouse has been guiding sailors home for a hundred years.
With all this shoreline, it isn’t surprising that Charlevoix developed into a resort destination, featuring extravagant hotels and three summer associations. An early admirer of the village called it “Charlevoix the Beautiful,” and ever since the local Chamber of Commerce has been using the appellation in its promotional material.
The first effort to improve access from Lake Michigan to Round Lake was in 1868, when a roughly 100-foot-wide channel between the two lakes was dredged and lined by close piling. In 1876, work began on replacing the piling with cribwork piers, and in 1885, a square, open-frame tower topped by an iron lantern was built at the lighthouse depot in Detroit and installed atop the Lake Michigan end of the north pier. As part of this work, nineteen crossties in the cribwork were replaced with sound ones so that trestles could be secured to them to support a 750-foot-long elevated walkway, erected to provide access to the lighthouse in inclement weather conditions. The work was begun in July and finished on August 28, 1885, allowing the pierhead light to commence operation on September 1, 1885. A fifth-order Henry-Lepaute Fresnel lens was used in the tower’s lantern room to produce a fixed red light at a focal plane of thirty-seven feet above the lake.