During the 19th
During the 19th century, industry and commerce rapidly expanded throughout the Midwest, and all the ports of the Upper and Western Great Lakes were accessed by transiting the Detroit River. As traffic in the river increased, the Cleveland Vessel Owners Association petitioned Congress to establish navigation lights to enable 24 hour operations of their steam powered ships.
The request was granted in 1891 when the first pair of channel guidance lights – range lights – were established on Hennepin Point to guide up bound ships past the sandbar off the southwest point of Fighting Island.
Three years later Congress appropriated money to establish another set of lights to serve down bound traffic, the Grosse Ile North Channel range lights. They were lighted on July 16, 1894 and identified the Fighting Island channel north of Mamajuda Island.
The northernmost of these lights was the Grosse Ile North Channel Front Range Light, now the only remaining light on the island. The companion beacon, the taller rear range light, was built on land north of Horsemill Road just east of what is now Parke Lane.
The original 1894 front range light resembled a water tower on stilts as it was constructed on wooden pilings along a 170 foot pier from the shore. It was rebuilt in 1906, and remains the classic white structure that still exists today. The interior of the lighthouse is paneled with the traditional Michigan tongue and groove varnished pine while the exterior is painted cedar. An impressive circular wooden staircase winds to the light stanchion, now empty.
A lighthouse keeper, with his family, lived in a one room cabin near the rear tower until a larger house was built on the property in 1904 (and still stands today as a private residence).
In addition to keeping the front and rear lights burning, the keeper was responsible for all maintenance of the lighthouses. Oil for the lamps was stored in metal structures near the lights, as was a supply of glycerin which was used to clean the windows and keep them from freezing during the winter.
After the opening of the Livingstone Channel in 1912, other channels in the lower Detroit River were dredged and straightened. The Grosse Ile North Channel ceased to exist and the rear light was decommissioned. The rear range tower was later demolished and today exists only in a few photographs.
In the 1920’s the remaining lights were electrified, with the Grosse Ile Light an occulting (flashing) white beacon, one second on and one second off. The light was permanently extinguished in 1963 and the Fresnel lens was removed by the Coast Guard. Of the original four lights on Grosse Ile, only this light was saved from demolition.
In 1965, the Township purchased the light from the Interior Department for $350, with funds provided by the Grosse Ile Historical Society. The Society has the responsibility to preserve and maintain the lighthouse and is supported strictly by private contributions. Through the Lighthouse Endowment Fund and this summer’s Centennial Celebration, concerned citizens, organizations and corporations provide the assets for the continuous upkeep this classic structure requires. Please join us in the preservation of this part of Great Lakes maritime history.
Fighting Island - article here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighting_Island
Calf IslandCalf Island /ˈkæf/
is a natural Michigan
island in the Detroit River
. The island has a surface elevation of 571 feet (174 m).
It is located in the Trenton Channel about 1,000 feet (304 m) west of the southern tip of Grosse Ile
and Swan Island
, and Hamburg Island
is just to the northwest. The 7-acre (2.8 ha) island is administered locally by Grosse Ile Township
Added in 2002, Calf Island was one of the newer additions to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
. Under the refuge, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources
and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
identifies more than 29 species of waterfowl
and 65 kinds of fish that make their home in and around the waters of Calf Island. The island often serves as a nesting location for a small number of herons
. Calf Island is the smallest property added to the refuge, and the island has remained relatively isolated and unused compared to other areas in the region.
Celeron IslandCeleron Island
) is an 81-acre (33 ha) island located about 0.25 miles (0.4 km) east of Horse Island in the southern portion of the Detroit River near Lake Erie
. While Celeron Island is closer to Gibraltar, Michigan
, the island is administered by Grosse Ile Township
to the north and is the southernmost of all islands in that township. Uninhabited, Celeron Island is technically four closely connected islands.
Celeron Island was named for Pierre Joseph Céloron de Blainville
Elba IslandElba Island
) is a narrow 224 acre (91 ha) island just off the east coast of southern Grosse Ile
. It is one of the four populated islands at the southern tip of Grosse Ile, and the few houses on this island are very affluent and expensive.
Fox IslandFox Island
) is a very small 1.6 acre (6.5 ha) island about 1,000 feet (305 m) off the east coast of Elba Island near the southern tip of Grosse Ile. The island, which is a private island administered by Grosse Ile Township
, is wooded and uninhabited.
Grassy Island - huge article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grassy_Island
Humbug IslandHumbug Island
) is an elongated 32 acre (13 ha) island located about 500 feet (152 m) from the mainland just northwest of Calf Island
and west of Grosse Ile. The island, which is administered by the city of Trenton
, is wooded and uninhabited. It is part of the much larger Humbug Marsh
, which was incorporated into the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Hickory IslandHickory Island
) is a 132-acre (53 ha) island off the southern tip of Grosse Ile
. Hickory Island is the southernmost of the inhabited islands of Grosse Ile Township
, in which only the uninhabited Celeron Island is further south. Hickory Island can only be accessed by traveling through Meso Island
, and both islands are part of a gated community
. It is more densely populated than Meso Island, and the two are separated by a narrow 20 foot (6.1 m) boating channel.
Link to Bob-Lo Island
Meso IslandMeso Island
), sometimes charted inaccurately as Meso Isle
or Mesco Island
, is a 121-acre (49 ha) island located about 200 feet (61 m) off the southeastern tip of Grosse Ile
. It is one of the four inhabited islands off the southern coast of Grosse Ile and is the least populated of those islands. Meso Island is separated by a very narrow 20 foot (6.1 m) channel from Hickory Island to the south, and the two belong to the same very affluent gated community
. Meso Island is also located about 1,000 feet (305 m) west of Sugar Island
Mamajuda Island - bigger article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamajuda_Island
Mud IslandMud Island
) is a small, uninhabited 18.5 acre (7.5 ha) island about 250 feet (76 m) off the coast of Ecorse, Michigan
and about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) west of the northern tip of Canada's Fighting Island
. The island was donated to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
by the National Steel Corporation
. Mud Island is currently the northernmost island in the refuge.
Stony IslandStony Island
) is an approximately 100 acre (40 ha) island located about 0.25 mi (0.4 km) east of the center of Grosse Ile
. Stony Island's odd shape and stony composition came from the millions of cubic yards of sediment that were dredged out of the middle of the Detroit River to provide a deep shipping lane for large freighters
. Stony Island is uninhabited and sparsely vegetated. Because the entire border separating Michigan and Ontario is water, this shipping lane is the narrowest width of water separating the two at any point along the international border
. Stony Island is 500 feet (152 m) away from Ontario's Crystal Island.
Zug Island (?)