Port Austin Reef Light Association Granted Ownership of the Port Austin Reef Light

Jul 18, 2012 Issues: Great Lakes

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10) today congratulated the conveyance of the Port Austin Reef Light’s title to Port Austin Reef Light Association.  The Secretary of Interior has approved this title transfer to the Association, bringing the ownership of the Lighthouse “home” to Port Austin.

“I congratulate the Port Austin Reef Light Association on receiving this outstanding honor to finally bring the ownership of the Lighthouse home to Port Austin.  As a lifelong boater, I have also been a long-time supporter of Michigan’s lighthouses and have been proud to support all of the Association’s efforts to receive this title transfer, as well as a previously awarded grant from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grant program for funding historic restorations to the Lighthouse that the Association has so dedicatedly been striving to complete,” Miller said.  “Their efforts to protect and restore one of Michigan’s shining examples of our maritime heritage are truly to be commended and I know the entire community and visitors will continue to enjoy the Lighthouse for many years to come.”

“Our 25 year ‘adventure’ to preserve this special ‘Castle in the Lake’ has been one of the most rewarding experiences of all our lives.  Perpetually maintaining this Historic Structure remains an awesome responsibility,” said Lou Schillinger, President of the Port Austin Reef Light Association.  “Now everyone will have the opportunity to experience the life of a Port Austin Lighthouse Keeper in the coming years.  These lighthouses are truly an example of ‘Pure Michigan’!”

Note: In November of 2011, the Association was awarded $20,000 by the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grant program to assist in their continued historic preservation efforts through creation of a Historic Structure’s Report and placed on the Register of Historic Places.  Funding for the grant program comes from the sale of the Michigan’s “Save our Lights” lighthouse license plates, a fund-raising license place implemented in 2001 by then-Secretary of State Miller. 

Located 2.5 miles off the shore of Port Austin, Michigan, the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse was established and first lit in 1878 and is operational to this day.  In 1988, the Association was formed and became the caretaker for restoration and upkeep of this historic lighthouse.

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