Point Iroquois Light Station

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

Lilacs at Point Iroquois Light Station

In 1975, The Point Iroquois Lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic.

The Point Iroquois Lightstation stands high above the waters of Lake Superior at the entry to St. Mary's River. It served passing sailors by marking the narrow channel.

The name Point Iroquois references a battle that took place in 1662 between the local Ojibwa (also known as the Chippewa or Anishinaabeg) and an invading Iroquois war party. The Iroquois had invaded the area in an attempt to gain influence and dominate the fur trade, but the Ojibwa were able to defeat the Iroquois war party, thus halting their westward expansion. According to the Indian agent of scholar, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the Ojibwa called Point Iroquois " Nau-do-we-e-gun-ing", which in their native language means "Place of Iroquois Bones."

In 1620, the first white men to the area were French explorers Brule and Grenoble. From that time, Point Iroquois became a familiar landmark for the French explorers, fur traders and the missionaries who were to follow. Sault Ste. Marie was the first white settlement in what was later to become Michigan.

The discovery of copper and iron ore in 1844 necessitated a passage for ore-carrying vessels through the rapids of St. Mary's River to the steel plants of the lower Great Lakes. In 1865, the St. Mary's Falls Canal (commonly known as the Soo Locks) was opened. The locks have since become the most heavily used commercial shipping canal in the world.

The first lighthouse and lightkeepers residence were built in 1855, and the light was exhibited for the first time on September 20, 1857. With the growth of traffic through the locks, the importance of the lightstation increased. In 1870 the wooden tower and residence were replaced with the brick buildings that stand today. The tower is 65 feet high. After 107 years of service, the light at Point Iroquois became history; it was replaced by an automatic light in the channel off Gros Cap, Ontario.

Climb the spiral staircase to the top of the 65-foot light tower. Observe the beauty of Canada, the lake, and the ocean-going freighters plying the river and Lake Superior as they come and go through the Soo Locks. Visit with the volunteer hosts in the museum to learn more about life as it once was in a lighthouse on Lake Superior.

Interpretive Activities

During the summer months, costumed historic interpreters are periodically on site to tell the history of the lighthouse and other related topics.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Summer Hours
May 16 - October 7 Tuesday thru Saturday 9am to 5pm: Sunday Noon to 5pm: Closed Mondays
October 8 - May 14 the lighthouse will be closed, but visitors are still welcome to visit the grounds.
Closest Towns: Sault Ste Marie

General Information

Directions: From the intersection of M-28 and I-75 drive 7.5 miles west on M-28 to M-221/ Brimley. Turn right (north) and drive 2.5 miles on M-221 to Lake Shore Drive (FR 42). Turn left (west) on Lake Shore Drive and drive 6.5 miles to the lighthouse.

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Location

 
  Latitude : 
46.484405

  Longitude : 
-84.630429