Point Iroquois Lighthouse, MI 2021
Point Iroquois Lighthouse, MI 2021

Point Iroquois Lighthouse, MI 2021

Point Iroquois Lighthouse, MI 2021

Lighthouses and their light-keepers are celebrated in naval history. Because Point Iroquois is strategically located at the mouth of a river that drains into Lake Superior, it has been occupied for generations going back hundreds of years. The dramatic red brick lighthouse and its keepers’ residence are due for some Historiorps TLC!

PROJECT PARTNER:  Hiawatha National Forest

SESSION DATES:  August 15-20, August 22-27, and August 29 – September 3

Project Site Description & History

French explorers/colonizers began occupying the area in 1620. In 1622, there was a notable battle between the Ojibwe and Iroquois for control of the point, which the Iroquois lost. Referencing this battle, the Algonkian name for the point, “Nadouenigoning,” is a portmanteau of the words “Nadone” (Iroquois) and “Akron” (bone). Two hundred years later, in the mid-1800s, copper and iron ore were discovered here, which secured the point’s fate as a strategically important place.

On September 20, 1857, two years after a wooden lighthouse and keepers’ residence were constructed, a guiding light shone over the channel for the irst time. This first light illuminated the watery highway for 107 years, during which time the original wood buildings were replaced with brick constructs. It is estimated that this channel, running up St. Mary’s River and connecting goods that traversed the frigid Lake Superior to the hub of Sault Ste. Marie, was at one point the busiest in the world. However, time and technology march on, and by the 1960s this beacon was replaced by an automatic light, stationed nearby at Gros Cap in Ontario. The Point Iroquois Lighthouse, by now an anachronism, earned its place in history and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Join HistoriCorps on this unique project, and don’t forget your sun hat and swimsuit!

Location and Logistics

PROJECT PARTNER: Hiawatha National Forest

SESSION DATES: August 15-20, August 22-27, and August 29 – September 3

Please plan to arrive at our campsite no earlier than 6pm and no later than 8pm on the first day of your session.

SITE INFORMATION:    Tent camping only

Tent camping only; those with truck bed campers or similar can also access this site. There are RV sites in the vicinity at Monocle Lake Campground and Brimley State Park Campground but volunteers will need to make their own reservations, and plan to commute to and from the site daily.

LOCATION:

ABOUT VOLUNTEERING: HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, and equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work clothes and boots, and other personal gear.

Colorful landscapes of green grass and trees, robins egg-blue skies, placed against the backdrop of Lake Superior’s cobalt blue depths, offer wonderfully picturesque landscape photos with the bright white and red-speckled lighthouse.

This large residence has stood for decades against the harsh winters of the Upper Peninsula.

Scope of Work

SCOPE OF WORK DIFFICULTY:  

HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers and youth conservation corps members (across different work sessions) will learn the traditional skills necessary to preserve and restore elements of the Point Iroquois Lighthouse. We will focus on executing exterior stucco repairs, removing the existing latex paint coating, and repointing/replacing deteriorated mortar and bricks to the Keepers Quarters and Lighthouse Tower. Volunteers should plan to work on scaffolding or a boom lift as necessary.

  • Repair exterior stucco: 10%
  • Repoint failing brick masonry: 50%
  • Paint removal and repainting: 40%

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Sign Up!

We’re thrilled this project has inspired you to volunteer! Choose your session and register below:

You will know your registration was successful when you receive a confirmation email. Contact volunteer@historicorps.org for assistance.

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Volunteer Logistics, Policies, and Advice

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining this project! If you’re new to our community, review the Volunteer FAQ first! Please note the following logistics and policies:

  • Review our COVID protocols here
  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging. Dinner is not provided on the first night.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places.
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate small RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email volunteer@historicorps.org for help.
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day.
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work.
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you.
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans in project campsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). Dogs are not permitted on the job site for everyone's safety. HOWEVER: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.