Gray’s Reef Light

Gray’s Reef marks a dangerous shoal in the shipping lanes west of the Straights of Mackinac. This light station, located five miles south of the famous White Shoal “candy cane” light, was built in 1936 to warn mariners of the dangers near the 1000-foot wide Gray’s Reef Passage.

The shoal at Gray’s Reef was considered such a threat to navigation that it received one of the earliest Federal lightships placed into service on the Great Lakes. Federal Lightship 57, GRAY’S REEF, was anchored there from 1891 to 1936, when the current lighthouse became operational.

The Gray’s Reef Light was automated in 1976. It is identical in design to Minneapolis Shoal Light. The entire base structure is sheathed in steel plates against the Lake Michigan’s harsh waves and ice floes. The lens is encased in a steel lantern room that measures eight feet in diameter.