The Guiding Light of Frankfort

Location: Frankfort, Michigan

There is nothing fancy about the Frankfort Light. It is a simple, pyramidal tower built in 1912. At 67 feet, its neither the tallest nor shortest lighthouse on the Great Lakes. There is nothing fancy about the town it resides in or the harbor it watches over. Yet for some reason, this lighthouse has captured my attention.

The original Frankfort light was built in 1973 on the south pier. It was a timber-framed pyramid beacon and because of the lack of funds, it did not include a Keeper’s Dwelling. It was not until 1907 that funds were finally approved to build such housing. Prior to that, Keepers had to rent accommodations in town.

In 1912, what is now known as the Frankfort Light, was built. It is covered fully in steel plates and originally was only 44 feet tall. The Army Corps added an additional 25-foot steel base in 1924 when they shortened the pier.

We visited the Light for the first time during winter. It was a mild winter and ice on the tower was minimal. A bit of a disappointment, but the high contrast created between the brooding sky and the white steel plating more than made up for it. The Frankfort Light demanded attention.

The lighthouse is easy to view from the parking area but in good conditions, a short walk down the pier brings visitors up close. While we were there, no one was brave enough to wander up the icy pier.

Getting There

Follow M-22 into the town of Frankfort. Turn west on Main Street and continue roughly 1/2 mile. The street ends at the lake. Park in the parking lot along the beach and follow the trail to the pier.

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