The Charity Island Lighthouse is considered as one of the first “Great Lakes lighthouses” in the United States. The Charity Island Lighthouse was established in 1857. It was later automated in 1900. Because the Charity Island is surrounded by numerous shoals, all the way from the northern shores to the southern shores, and the island itself represents a notable obstruction of the increasing quantity of lumber ships going fro and thro on the Saginaw River during the 1830’s, the Charity Island Lighthouse was constructed as an aid for the lumber ships.
The Charity Island Lighthouse is situated on the largest island of the Saginaw River. The Charity Island Lighthouse is located in the Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron), about 34 miles off the mouth of the Saginaw River. The said lighthouse was very much valuable to all the traffic in the Saginaw River because it can be seen as far
he as the Point-aux-Barques, which makes the navigators in the bay feel more secure.
The Charity Island Lighthouse was erected due to the 1838 report of a certain individual named, Lieutenant James T. Homan, to the Fifth Auditor of the Treasury. However, the report of recommendation of Lieutenant James Homan was ignored. It was ignored not until the creation of the Lighthouse Board on 1851. The interest of the improvement of support to navigation in the Saginaw Bay is one of the main factors of the creation of the Charity Island Lighthouse. The Congress appropriated the spending of almost five thousand dollars for the formation of a light station on Charity Island in 1856.
The construction of the lighthouse on Charity Island started in 1856 and went on into the subsequent year. The first ever keeper of the light station in Charity Island was an individual named Colin Graham. He was assigned to maintain the lighthouse on the 26th of May, 1857. The first lighting of the light station however was unrecorded, but was said that the first lighting of the light station was immediately after the arrival of Colin Graham on the island.
The United States Coast Guard (the ones responsible for the maintenance of all the light stations in the United States) abandoned the Charity Island Lighthouse after the completion of a “state of the art” offshore automated light vessel called “Gravelly Shoals Light”. The Gravelly Shoals Lights is located about less than three miles offshore of the Saginaw Bay.
The adjacent keeper’s dwelling of the Charity Island Lighthouse was demolished in 2003 by the owner of the dwelling. Only the concrete cellar and the brick foundations of the keeper’s dwelling survived. The owners are said to have made preparations to reconstruct the said keeper’s dwelling as a summer vacation lodge.
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