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Friends of Point
Betsie Lighthouse
P.O. Box 601
Frankfort, MI
49635-0601
231-352-7644
Email Us

Gift Shop
231-352-7666

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A grateful THANKS
to
Infinite Communications
for hosting this site and other Internet services.

Point Betsie photos
courtesy of Jon
Hawley.

Web Site © Copyright
2002-2015 by The
Friends of Point
Betsie Lighthouse

and
ATI Consulting

All rights reserved.

The Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse

• About the Point Betsie Lighthouse •
Point Betsie Lighthouse and Fog Signal Building


GENERAL

Point Betsie Lighthouse, Benzie County's most famous landmark, is located on the Lake Michigan shore just south of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and about five miles north of Frankfort, Michigan. Point Betsie is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States, and likely the most visited attraction in Benzie County.

HOURS of OPERATION, TOURS, and SPECIAL EVENTS

See our Hours, Tours, and Events page.

LOCATION

See our Map page for the location and directions to Point Betsie.

DETAILS

  • Point Betsie marks the southern entrance to the Manitou Passage.
  • Indians named the Betsie River for the Sawbill or Merganser duck which was prevalent in the area. That identification was continued by the early French explorers, who used “Aux Bec Scies,” of comparable meaning, as the name of the river as well as the nearby point.
  • The lighthouse was built in 1857-58 and its light was first lit on October 20, 1858. It has continued to serve Lake Michigan mariners for 153 years.
  • The U.S. Lifesaving Service station was built in 1876 and replaced by U.S. Coast Guard in 1917, closing in 1937.
  • The light sits 52 feet above the lake and has a range of about 15 miles.
  • Both the original lens and its 1891 replacement were of the fourth-order Fresnel (Fre’-nel) design.
  • The lighthouse and rescue stations had many keepers throughout their history.
  • The current light system features a modern acrylic lens from New Zealand.
  • National Register Status: LISTED; Reference #84001375. (See National Register of Historical Places - Benzie County)

PHOTO GALLERIES

Photographs of the Point Betsie lighthouse and life-saving station spanning several decades and many different perspectives.

THE HISTORY

Key Point Betsie Personnel

A Summary Chronology


Our Restoration Story

THE PRESENT and THE FUTURE

The Friends organization and Benzie County are grateful of the support of the State of Michigan's Lighthouse Assistance Program, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, the Frankfort Rotary Club's Centennial Project, the Federal Government's distinguished “Save America's Treasures” program, and The Nature Conservancy, as well as the contributions of thousands of individual donors whose funds have made possible Point Betsie Light Station's rehabilitation.

All the historic structures have now been rehabilitated and are in use. In 2012 the driveway was completely re-surfaced and limited inside-the-gate parking spaces were added to assist our volunteers and disabled visitors.

See here for a
summer 2014 aerial video of our grounds and buildings. This video shows views of Chimney Corners Resort, Crystal Lake, and Pt. Betsie with the Point Betsie views beginning at the 6:30 portion of the video. Here is another aerial video of Pt. Betsie taken in March 2015.

If you have not already done so, please visit "
Our Restoration Story" for additional information on the lighthouse and boat restoration, and "About the Boathouse" for information on our new Gift Shop, Exhibit Room, and Restrooms.

Although we are proud of the accomplishments so far, much remains to be done. Two major future projects include the revamping of the bulwarks and cement structures facing Lake Michigan and a complete restructuring of the road end.