For lighthouse enthusiasts, Presque Isle has much to offer, with its Old Lighthouse, Range Lights, New Lighthouse, and 1905 Keeper’s House. Presque Isle Harbor—a natural harbor of refuge—was the only safe harbor for the trading and shipping industries between Fort Gratiot and the Straits of Mackinac. By the early 19th century, steamers traveling on Lake Huron were stopping at Presque Isle to replenish their supply of wood.
Built in 1840, the Old Lighthouse marked the harbor entrance. By 1868, increased shipping required building a taller, coastal lighthouse a mile to the north, where it would be more visible to mariners navigating Lake Huron.
The New Presque Isle Light Station was built in 1870; the light was lit for the start of the 1871 shipping season. A foghorn signal was added in 1890. The light was automated in 1970 and continues to serve mariners as an important navigational aid. It is Michigan’s tallest light tower open to climb.
The front and rear range lights were constructed in 1870 to guide ships into the harbor, replacing the decommissioned 1840 Lighthouse. The original front range light has been restored and sits at the entrance to a public park and beach.