Point Iroquois Lighthouse
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In 1975, The Point Iroquois Lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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.
During the summer months, interpretive programs are periodically provided on site to tell the history of the lighthouse and other related topics. Please see the Forest's events webpage for specifics.
Event/Commercial Permits Policy
To learn more, visit our Event/Commercial Permits page: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/hiawatha/passes-permits/event-commercial.
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||The Museum, bookstore and tower are closed for the season. The restroom facilities are also closed.|
|Operational Hours:||Summer Hours
|Open Season:||June 15 - October 15|
|Closest Towns:||Sault Ste Marie|
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.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Day HikingRecreation areas with activity Day Hiking:
0.2 mile interpretive hiking trail
Viewing SceneryRecreation areas with activity Viewing Scenery:
The tower, grounds and boardwalk offer beautiful views of the surrounding area, Lake Superior and Canada!
Visitor ProgramsRecreation areas with activity Visitor Programs:
Seasonal interpretive programming