|Point Betsie photos
courtesy of Jon
Web Site © Copyright
2002-2015 by The
Friends of Point
and ATI Consulting
All rights reserved.
• About the
Point Betsie Lighthouse •
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
See our Hours, Tours, and Events page.
See our Map page
for the location and directions to Point Betsie.
- 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 -
Photographs of the Point Betsie lighthouse and life-saving station
spanning several decades and many different perspectives.
Key Point Betsie
A Summary Chronology
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.