Michigan’s Oldest Lighthouse
Fort Gratiot was built in 1814 during the War of 1812 to guard the juncture of the St. Clair River and Lake Huron. Named after the engineer who supervised construction, Charles Gratiot, Fort Gratiot would be occupied on and off until 1879. With a surge of vessel traffic on Lake Huron in the early 1800s, the need for a Light Station to guide vessels through the water way became very important.
In 1823 Congress approved the funds to build the first lighthouse in Michigan and the second oldest on the Great Lakes.
The first lighthouse in this area was built in 1825 and was located approximately where the first Blue Water Bridge stands. Along with the poor design and construction, the original tower was built in a bad location. During a severe storm in 1828 it collapsed into the river. In 1829, a new lighthouse was built north of the military fort by Lucius Lyon, who later became one of Michigan’s first U.S. Senators. The new location made it easier for ships to spot as they entered the rapids at the head of the St. Clair River.
Originally sixty-five feet high, the white painted brick tower was extended to its present height of eighty-two feet in the early 1860s.
Today, a Coast Guard station and our lighthouse watch over one of the busiest waterways in the world.
Weather permitting, the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is one of the few operating lighthouses that allow visitors to climb the tower and step out onto the catwalk for a breathtaking veiw. From the gallery, visitors can view the Blue Water Bridge, the mouth of the St. Clair River, Point Edward, Ontario and Lake Huron to the north.
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Temporary Hours of Operation:
Wednesday - Sunday
12pm - 4pm
*Open to groups of 20 or more people by appointment, year round.*
(Please note, no tower climbs in severe weather)
Tours typically leave on the hour and half hour marks at this site. Please call (810) 216-6923 to confirm the day’s schedule. Tickets for each tour are limited and sold first come, first serve.
2802 Omar Street (at the East end of Garfield St.)
Port Huron, MI 48060
Cost of site tour, including tower climb:
$10.00 – Adults
$7.00 – Students & Seniors (60+)
$25.00 – Family Admission (2 Adults and 4 children)
Did you know that you can climb to the top of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse?
94 iron stairs lead to the top of the lighthouse, giving those willing to make the climb an amazing vantage point!
Visit our Museum Store located in the renovated equipment garage