Menominee Lighthouse to offer tours in the future

The Menominee North Pier Light in Menominee, Mich., is seen, July 27, 2017. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

MENOMINEE, Mich. (WLUK) -- The Menominee Pierhead Lighthouse is 90 years old, and the and iconic landmark in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is considered by many the community's prized possession.

With the most recent round of renovations complete, the exterior looks shiny and new.

But for those who visit, there will soon be an new option.

At the end of a quarter mile of concrete, a three-story cast iron tower stands tall in the Thursday morning sun. For years, tourists flocked to the Menominee, Michigan pierhead light, but for the first time in 12 years, tour guide Mike Kaufman provided a sneak peek of what it looks like on the inside.

"It's kind of neat to see how the coast guard, how they functioned here, and the area they used," said Mike Kaufman, Menominee County Historical Society Executive Director.

Renovations to the inside of the lighthouse include new windows.

"This would have been their view of the mouth of the river, to watch the ship traffic come and go," said Kaufman.

Up two spiral staircases, and a narrow ladder, A solar-powered lamp still guides ships into Menominee Harbor.

The renovations stretch beyond the lighthouse. A multi-use lane runs along Harbor Drive and lakeside parking is restricted.

"It was a safety issue. So the trail provides for all of that pedestrian accommodation to be outside of the traffic lane," said Valerie Mellon, Menominee City Engineer and Public Works Director.

The project costs $450,000. City leaders say an anonymous donor paid for it all.

"I think everybody is very happy with what has been accomplished so far. But we're very interested about the tours that are going to happen. And we're very interested in the public's reaction," said Mellon.

"Being able to go and hear the history from someone who knows about it, is much more exciting, especially for kids. They don't always want to read a sign, or a placard," said Leslie Jagger of Ashland.

"I think there's something kind of nostalgic about lighthouses. And it connects us with our past," said Dan Vander Meulen of Lowell, Michigan.

City leaders aren't sure when tours will begin inside the lighthouse.

Some interior decorating need to be completed as well as some landscaping work along the shoreline.

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