Scenic USA - Michigan

Holland Harbor Lighthouse

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Big Red Lighthouse - Holland, Michigan

Photo by Jack Ryan
Jack's Zenfolio Gallery

   Dutch emigrants, lead by Rev. A.C. van Raalte, found an ideal location along the western shore of lower Lake Michigan. The new settlement, naturally named Holland, was created around Black Lake and a river channel, an important connection to Lake Michigan. Federal funds to dredge the shallow Black River were slow to come and the impatient Dutch settlers took it upon themselves to open the channel. The new harbor opened to lake traffic in 1859, providing access to Black Lake, later having its named changed to Macatawa. Over the years the channel was marked with a patchwork of beacons, piers and fog signals.
   "Big Red", a permanent lighthouse to mark the entrance of Black Lake, was a nickname picked up just after the Coast Guard applied the first coat of official beacon-red paint in 1956. The popular Holland Harbor Lighthouse serves no commercial purpose today, having been abandoned by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1972. Holland residents feared that the lighthouse may be lost for good and quickly banded together, forming the Holland Lighthouse Commission in 1974. Their beloved icon was saved, and continues to add a brightly colored feature to the Holland State Park.

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