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 fourteen 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), Two Heart River, Deer Park (formerly Sucker River Station and Muskallonge Lake Station) and Grand Marais.

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.

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


** 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.

Once crowned with a 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 current location of the lens is unknown to us.

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.

The solitude and tranquility felt at the light are irreplaceable and the sunsets are some of the best you'll see anywhere. At the present, all that remains is the tower and the entrance building. There is still much restoration and preservation work to be done.

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. 12,1870 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. 27 4 1904 5 6 1904 Resigned
2nd Assistant Robins Loyd H. 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 22 4 1907 31 7 1909 Resigned
1st Assistant Campbell Roger W. 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 Gibbs Jacob H. 1913 1 3 1911 1 1913 Died
2nd Assistant Hetu Archie 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 Crittenden Herbert P. 1921 1927 Transferred
Keeper Singleton Joseph Noah October 15, 1879 September 8, 1964 1923 30 6 1939 Dates unsure
2nd Assistant Hawkins Charles 1928 4 10 1930 Dates unsure
2nd Assistant Winfield Herbert J. 1879 1940 9 10 1930 1939 End date unsure
1st Assistant Brown Albert F. 1896 1930 1939 Dates unsure
1st Assistant Winfield Herbert J. 1879 1940 1939 1940 Died Start date unsure
Most of the information in the above table was provided by Great Lakes Lighthouse Research. 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 Webmasters: Cameron Lovett and Margaret Warren
Email us with comments about the web site at crisppointlighthouse@yahoo.com or crisppoint1904@gmail.com
Copyright 2013 Crisp Point Light Historical Society
Last Modified November 17, 2013