A Brief History of Crisp Point and Surrounding Area

Crisp Point was one of five Lake Superior U.S. Life-Saving Service Stations along the coast between Munising and Whitefish Point. It is located about 14.5 miles west of Whitefish Point. It was built in 1875 and became operational in 1876 as Life Saving Station Number Ten, of the U.S. Life-Saving Service District 10 (it was later part of District 11) . Crisp Point inherited its name from one of the Life Saving Station keepers, an iron-willed boatman named Christopher Crisp. The other four Life-Saving Stations were Vermillion Point (now Vermilion, which is about 5 miles east of Crisp Point and became operational in 1876), Two Heart River (built 1876), Deer Park (became operational in 1876formerly Sucker River Station and Muskallonge Lake Station) and Grand Marais (built in 1899 and became operational in 1900).

Crisp Point Lighthouse was first proprosed in 1896 and every year thereafter until finally approved in June of 1902. The land was purchased--fifteen acres--at a price of $30.00. The deed was dated May 21, 1903. Originally crowned with a red fixed 360 degree Fourth Order light, the lighthouse tower stands 58 feet from its base to the ventilator ball of the lantern. The tower sits on a concrete foundation 10 feet deep. The Fourth Order Fresnel lens was made by Sautter & Lemonnier of Paris, France. When it was operational, the light produced a focal plane 58 feet above the mean low water level of the lake.

The fog signal building was a brick structure, 22' x 42', with a tin tile roof. A brick service room, built in 1906, was connected to the lighthouse tower. The landing crib was 12' wide by 132' long with a bulkhead 20' square. It was built on the west side of the boathouse, filled with stone, and decked.

In all, there was a lifesaving station and quarters, a two family brick light keeper's dwelling with basement, brick fog signal building, oilhouse, two frame barns, boathouse and landing, tramway, lighthouse tower and service room entrance.

The Crisp Point Light Historical Society is a non-profit, charitable organization that has been formed to restore and preserve Crisp Point Lighthouse for ours and future generations to learn about and enjoy as a non-commercial historic attraction. The lighthouse is currently owned by Luce County and The Crisp Point Light Historical Society is leasing the light in 40 year increments. CPLHS is in charge of maintaining, operating, and restoring Crisp Point Light.



 
fzcrisp0.jpg
This is what Crisp Point looked like back in 1935. Notice the lighthouse was in the center of the complex.


 
CRISP POINT AREA TIMELINE AND GENERAL HISTORY:

** Denotes information was obtained from the book Lake Superior Shipwrecks, by Julius F. Wolff Jr., 1990.
*** Denotes information was obtained from USCG Web Site at www.uscg.mil.
**** Denotes information was obtained from the article "The Lighthouse Kids of Crisp Point", The Keeper's Log, Summer 2000.
***** Denotes information was obtained from the website Seeing the Light by Terry Pepper at www.terrypepper.com.
****** Denotes information was obtained from the book Sand Pounders, by Robert F. Bennett, 1998.

 
Lighthouse Keepers and Assistants 1904-1940
            Start     End      
Position Last Name First Name M.I. Born Died Day Month Year Day Month Year Comment
1st Assistant Gramer William J. Dec. 14, 1870 April 16, 1955 1 3 1904 30 6 1907 Transferred, promoted
Keeper Smith John E. 1872   1 3 1904 31 8 1906 Transferred
2nd Assistant Basel Charles H. October 12, 1878 April 21, 1968 27 4 1904 5 6 1904 Resigned
2nd Assistant Robbins Lloyd H. 1872? August 21, 1926 6 6 1904 31 8 1904 Resigned
2nd Assistant Maguire John A.     1 4 1905 31 3 1907 Resigned
Keeper Burrows Herbert N.     1 9 1906 31 8 1910 Transferred
2nd Assistant Hawkins Norman Powell February 14, 1883 April 16, 1937 22 4 1907 31 7 1909 Resigned
1st Assistant Campbell Roger W. September 19,1877-80?   12 7 1907 15 3 1912 Transferred
2nd Assistant Massicotte Samuel       29 9 1909 31 3 1911 Transferred, promoted
Keeper Smith George W.     15 9 1910 28 2 1911 Transferred
Keeper Gibb Jacob H. March 6, 1852 May 3, 1913 1 3 1911 22? 4 1913 Had to leave post due to illness.
2nd Assistant Hetu Archie   September 25, 1884 August 30, 1974 24 5 1911     1916 End date unsure
1st Assistant Haskell Albert E.     15 3 1912     1912 End date unsure
1st Assistant Schinderette George M. 1868 1962     1912     1928 End date unsure
Keeper Coughlin Peter           1913       End date unsure
2nd Assistant House Harry F. September 23, 1895 January 17, 1935     1915     ? End date unsure
Keeper Hawkins Norman Powell February 14, 1883 April 16, 1937     1916     1916 Start/End dates unsure
Keeper Crittenden Herbert Peck February 27, 1872 February 6, 1947     1921     1927 Transferred to Martin Reef Light
2nd Assistant Brown Albert Francis February 2, 1896 May 19, 1966 18 6 1921 9 4 1924 Transferred to Ft. Gratiot
Keeper Singleton Joseph Noah October 15, 1879 September 8, 1964     1927 30 6 1939 Dates unsure
2nd Assistant Hawkins Charles Herman September 25, 1894 December 21, 1972     1928 4 10 1930 Dates unsure
2nd Assistant Winfield Herbert J. May 25, 1879 1940 9 10 1930     1939 End date unsure
1st Assistant Brown Albert Francis February 2, 1896 May 19, 1966 16 4 1930 1 2 1940 Promoted
1st Assistant Winfield Herbert J. May 25, 1879 1940     1939     1940 Died Start date unsure
Keeper Brown Albert Francis February 2, 1896 May 19, 1966 1 2 1940 30 9 1940 Retired
Most of the information in the above table was provided by Great Lakes Lighthouse Research and Ancestry.com. Special thanks to Rowlan Smith, Marilee Multhup, Cameron Lovett, and Kraig Anderson for their time researching the keepers and helping to fill in some missing data. We would like to eventually have an individual page for each keeper. If you are a relative or have info about any of the above keepers that you would like to share to be published on our web site, please contact the webmaster.
 

Crisp Point Light Historical Society Webmaster: Cameron Lovett
Email us with comments about the web site at crisppointlighthouse@yahoo.com
Copyright © 2016 Crisp Point Light Historical Society
Last Modified July 30, 2016