North Manitou Light Keepers Acquire, Restore Lake Michigan Lighthouse


Michigan nonprofit North Manitou Light Keepers (NMLK) today announced that restoration has begun on the North Manitou Shoal Light (known locally as The Crib) following its acquisition from the United States General Services Administration. NMLK plans to fully restore the lighthouse and make it available to the public for tours by July 4, 2021.

After purchasing the lighthouse in a public auction on Sept. 2016, NMLK applied for and recently received a necessary regulatory approval from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Following this approval, the organization closed on the acquisition and is now initiating interior and exterior renovations.

Plans for this summer’s restoration work includes:

  • Cleaning the structure of the lighthouse, including the removal of lead-based paint, asbestos and bird excrement
  • Stabilizing and weatherproofing the structure
  • Cleaning and painting the exterior of the lighthouse structure
  • Repairing damaged metalwork
  • Conducting an underwater evaluation of the structure and surrounding bottomlands
  • Replacing glass panes and painting the lantern house

“This is a major milestone moment for the Crib because we are completing our startup phase and beginning to actually work on the lighthouse, build our membership, and raise funds to complete the restoration,” says Daniel Oginsky, NMLK president and executive vice president and chief administrative officer of ITC Holdings Corp. “Now that we officially own the lighthouse, we can start cleaning it up and working toward its full restoration.”

NMLK has contracted west Michigan-based contractor Mihm Enterprises Inc. for this summer’s restoration work. The company has completed restorations of several other historic Great Lakes lighthouses.

Future projects include plans to renovate the lighthouse’s interior, replace windows, install historic cranes on the deck, install electrical and other interior systems, and other finishes and furnishings.

NMLK’s membership program now allows Lake Michigan, Leelanau County, lighthouse, Coast Guard, and history enthusiasts to join their team with varying levels of financial support. Annual membership levels and related benefits are $50 for Lake Level, $100 for Crib Level, and $250 for Light Keeper Level. The organization is also launching a capital campaign to fund lighthouse restoration, with campaign donor levels and related recognition established at $1,000 and $5,000. Projected costs for the complete renovation are currently between $1-1.5 million.

Donation and membership information can be found here.