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A weekly look at life on the Great Lakes, in 90 seconds or less, from IPR News.

Introducing Maritime Time: Sarah Lane and the Mission Point Lighthouse

Mission Point Lighthouse in Peninsula Township.
(Photo: Tyler Thompson/IPR News)
Mission Point Lighthouse in Peninsula Township. (Photo: Tyler Thompson/IPR News)

Welcome to the first episode of Maritime Time, IPR's weekly look at life on the Great Lakes.

Michigan has the most lighthouses in the United States; there are 129 of these things statewide.

At the tip of the Old Mission Peninsula is the Mission Point Lighthouse. Seven different people served as lighthouse keepers in its heyday.

Only one of those was a woman. Sarah Lane and her husband John, took over in 1881. They worked as a unit watching ships, keeping the light burning and caring for the grounds.

John fell ill and died in 1906, that’s when Sarah became the active keeper. She continued that critical work until spring of 1907.

The Lanes are buried in Monroe, Michigan. Sarah Lane's grave is unmarked, but that’s going to change. The Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society will get her a gravestone this summer.

The lighthouse is no longer in service for seafarers, but its rich history is preserved brings in thousands of people to the shores of the Great Lakes.


Maritime Time is a weekly segment from IPR News, exploring life in the Great Lakes. This is its first episode. Have a Great Lakes story you think we should tell? Email Tyler Thompson: tyler.thompson@interlochen.org.

Corrected: March 26, 2024 at 9:32 AM EDT
This story has been corrected after originally naming the wrong peninsula.
Tyler Thompson is a reporter at Interlochen Public Radio.