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Visit our Gift Shop in Mackinaw City at 707 N. Huron Ave. - Right across the street from Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Contact:  Tel 231-436-5580    Fax 231-436-5466  Mail  PO Box 219, Mackinaw City, MI 49701  Email  info@gllka.com

1981

Idea for a gathering of lighthouse keepers and aficionados proposed by Donn Werling, Diane Werling and Betty Moore Rinehart at Grosse Point lighthouse, Evanston, Illinois.


1982

First informal meeting of 38 people held in Saugatuck/Douglas, Michigan.


1983

Steering committee formed to investigate formal organization.

Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA) Articles of Incorporation registered with the State of Michigan and bylaws created.

Second informal lighthouse meeting held in Port Huron


1984

Donn Werling elected as Association’s first President


1985

GLLKA requests license from US Coast Guard 9th District to undertake restoration of St. Helena Island Light Station.  

Donn Werling composes song “Island Dream” about St. Helena Island light station.

Dick Moehl elected as second, and current, GLLKA President


1986

GLLKA receives 30-year license to restore and use St. Helena Island light station from United States Coast Guard (USCG) 9th District, assisted by James Woodward USCG lampist, historian and environmental specialist.


1987

GLLKA obtains grant from National Trust Historic Preservation Committee to hire Henry and Lorraine Chambers to conduct architectural assessment of St. Helena Island light station and Tom McGrath, Jr. to investigate possibility of accomplishing a Historic Structures Report and present paper at GLLKA conference at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island.

GLLKA publishes oral history book “Living at a Lighthouse” edited by LuAnne Gaykowski Kozma.


1988

St. Helena Island light station added to National Register of Historic Places


1989

Restoration work at St. Helena Island begun by Troops 4 and 61 of Ann Arbor and Troop 200 of Calumet.

First annual Maritime Heritage Education Workshop (MHEW) held on St. Helena Island.  

$20,000 grant from Bicentennial Lighthouse Fund to be matched with $20,000 in cash and or in-kind labor that funded replacement of roofs, doors, and windows at St. Helena Light Station. Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 4 of Ann Arbor provided most of the in-kind labor for the required match.

GLLKA publishes reprint of 1902 Lighthouse Service manual “Instructions to Light-Keepers.”


1990

BSA Troop 4 receives “Keep Michigan Beautiful Award” for restoration work at St. Helena.

St. Helena video “Keepers of the Light” produced by Richard Brzozowski and assisted by Jack Edwards.

Boy Scout Ben Wolfe of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout badge by planning and hosting a meeting of Directors of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network at St. Helena.

Boy Scout Jim Getty of Troop 4 obtains Eagle Scout rank by building osprey platforms and bat houses at St. Helena

Boy Scout Jon Morrison of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank by building accurate 1/8 scale model of St. Helena light station.

Boy Scout Chris Morrison of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank through restoration of privy at St. Helena Island.


1991

BSA Troop 4 receives “Take Pride in America” national award for St. Helena restoration efforts.

BSA Troop 4 receives Midwest Living’s “Hometown Pride Award” and $1,000 for St. Helena restoration efforts and donates the $1000 to GLLKA.

First edition of Educational Resource Guide published.

St. Helena oil house restored.  $2,500 for historic masonry labor and 1,500 bricks.


1992

BSA Troop 4 receives President George W Bush’s 630th “Daily Point of Light” that included St. Helena restoration.


1993

Boy Scout Jay Howe of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank by building hexagon picnic table by flag pole at St. Helena.

Boy Scout Karl Koto of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank by designed, built and installed an information kiosk at St. Helena.

Boy Scout Steve Wise of Troop 4 initiates a beach cleanup project at St. Helena.  Mentored by Jack Edwards, he creates a poster presentation which is presented to National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and Center for Maritime Conservation that resulted into an invitation to the Third International Marine Debris Conference.  The Only fresh water presentation among the 23 nations present.

Girl Scout Dawn Dick of Troop 253 earns Silver award for creating an “I Forgot Box” of needed supplies at St. Helena.   

GLLKA publishes second edition of Educational Resource Guide.

The well was cleaned to a depth of 43 feet and a hand pump installed. Deemed to be a good well by Mackinac Health Department.  A number of water samples examined by St. Ignace Water Department seasonally.


1994

Boy Scout Steve Wise of Troop 4 presents his poster presentation at the Third International Conference on Marine Debris, in Miami, Florida.

Boy Scout Andrew Redies of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank by restoring NE bedroom at St. Helena.

Girl Scouts Lori Moore and Melanie Jones of Troop 253 receive Gold Award for their construction of solar powered showers at St. Helena Island. Grant for project received from Readers Digest magazine.

GLLKA publishes second edition of book “Instructions to Light-Keepers.”


1995

Great Lakes Cruiser Magazine recognizes GLLKA for “Developing a new Generation of Preservationists”

GLLKA signs “Memo of Understanding” with Hiawatha National Forest to assist in the restoration of Round Island lighthouse.

BSA Troop 323 begins clean-up of Round Island lighthouse.

GLLKA instrumental in getting U.S. Postal Service to pick and design 5 Great Lakes stamps and select Cheboygan to be the site of the June 17th First Day of Issue ceremony on board USCG Cutter SUNDEW.


1996

BSA Troop 4 reconstructs 90' x 8' x 6' pier using 27 utility poles donated by Edison Sault and CMS Energy.

GLLKA assists Hiawatha National Forest Service and installs a new 300 mm Tideland Signal optic and solar equipment in Round Island lighthouse and re-establishes the lighthouse as a Private Aid to Navigation.  A white one second flash every 10 seconds.

Boy Scout Steve Wise of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank by reconstructing the 12' by 30' assistant keepers dwelling.

GLLKA establishes first physical office headquarters at Henry Ford Estate in Dearborn, MI


1997

With invaluable assistance from Congressman Bart Stupak, GLLKA receives the quit claim deed to St. Helena Island lighthouse via Legislative Transfer. Bill signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

Boy Scout Michael Redies attains Eagle Scout rank by designing and installing 8 stone monument interpretive signs and bird houses.


1998

GLLKA publishes third edition of Educational Resource Guide.

Boy Scout Jason Weaver of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank by creating and publishing the brochure “St. Helena Island Light Station” and coloring book “A Lighthouse Worth Saving.”

MHEW graduate Cindy Kimmel and Beaumont Elementary School raise $500 to purchase tin ceiling parts for the Kitchen at St. Helena.


1999

GLLKA begins narrating Shepler’s Lighthouse Cruises out of Mackinaw City.

GLLKA holds small craft workshop at St. Helena.

Boy Scout Tom Laughlin of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank by installing shelving and workbench in St. Helena

Boys Scout Peter Wilson of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank by restoring the summer kitchen at St. Helena.

Boy Scout Steve Wise of Troop 4 receives Silver Hornaday Award for the total of 4 projects he undertook during his time on St. Helena Island.

Troop 4 begins planning for the reconstruction of historic St. Helena boathouse.

Volunteer Michael Bruce Moehl builds life jacket rack at St. Helena.

Volunteer Frank Switalska restores plaster throughout St. Helena dwelling.

Volunteer Bob VandenToorn builds staircase banisters and railing for St. Helena dwelling.

GLLKA establishes St. Helena Island Lighthouse Endowment with Straits Area Community Foundation


2000

Boy Scout Andrew Supiano of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank through restoration of keeper’s office at St. Helena.

Girl Scouts from Troop 272 in Lansing build picnic tables and seats at St. Helena funded by Home Depot.

BSA Troop 4 excavates and pours footing piers for boathouse at St. Helena.

Kari Moore builds fish net drying rack at St. Helena.

Dick Moehl receives the Governor George Romney Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Service Award.

Pastor Budd Wagner of St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Cheboygan partners with GLLKA to annually bring church youth groups to St. Helena for Servant Projects, including a group from  Loves Park, Ill


2001

GLLKA holds first “Lunch at St. Helena” event

BSA Troop 4 frames and starts installation of roof on Boat House.  Wall sheathing and roof of boathouse are completed before end of the season by the girls of Troop 253 and GLLKA volunteers.

St. Helena Island, minus the light station islet that GLLKA received ownership of in 1997, purchased by Little Traverse Conservancy, protecting the island from any future development.



2002

GLLKA awarded Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grant to install lightning protection on all buildings and four sets of double casement windows in the tower at St. Helena.

GLLKA files for application for ownership of the Cheboygan River Front Range light (CRFRL) through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act 2000 (NHLPA.)

BSA Troop 323 straightens and stabilize privy at Round Island lighthouse.

BSA Troop 4 frames-in and installs shingle roof on recreated boat house on St. Helena.

GLLKA purchases house in Mackinaw City to serve as new office after lease is not renewed at Henry Ford Estate.



2003

GLLKA relocates office from Henry Ford Estate to new building in Mackinaw City.

GLLKA awarded Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) grant to fund masonry repairs on tower, dwelling and chimney at St. Helena.

Boy Scout Spyros Pavlidis of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank by extending pier to sidewalk at St. Helena.

BSA Troop 4 shingles and trims boat house pediments at St. Helena.

Boss Construction begins brick repairs on tower at St. Helena funded by CMI grant.

GLLKA publishes third edition of book “Instructions to Light-Keepers.”


2004

Boss construction completes masonry repairs on tower, dwelling and chimney at St. Helena funded by CMI grant.

BSA Troop 4 installs clapboard siding and completes trimming of boat house at St. Helena.

Volunteer Terry Pepper builds and installs two doors and five windows in boathouse at St. Helena

GLLKA receives deed to CRFRL through NHLPA at Traverse City Lighthouse Conference.

GLLKA forms collaboration with St. James Township to consult in the restoration of St. James lighthouse.

GLLKA & St. James Township involve 5th & 6th graders at Beaver Island School in identifying number of spalled bricks on St. James lighthouse tower.

GLLKA publishes book "Reliving lighthouse Memories" written by Sandy Planisek and featuring oral histories conducted by Sandy, Dick Moehl and Terry Pepper."

Schooner Highlander Sea visits St. Helena Island.

GLLKA is awarded CMI grant to cast and install components for historically correct ten sided lantern at St. Helena.


2005

Educator and graduate of St. Helena MHEW program Michelle VanderVelde receives Odyssey Award.

Boy Scout Riley McCullagh of Troop 4 raises $2,500 to purchase and install AED at St. Helena.

Boy Scout Dan Vandermade of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank by restoring kitchen ceiling at St. Helena.

Historically correct lantern installed at St, Helena funded by CMI grant.

GLLKA Publishes booklet “Lighting the Straits” written by Terry Pepper as part of Harbor Lights Reunion on Mackinac Island.

Volunteer Keeper program initiated at CRFRL. Lighthouse is open to public weekends and holidays.

Volunteers remove paneling and carpet from CRFRL.

Group of 9 girls and parents from Verona, Wisconsin Lutheran Church youth group remove paneling and ceilings from living room and parlor at CRFRL.

Girl Scouts Kily Buta, Sami DiFranco, Danielle Draves, Hailey DuBreiul, Jessica Miller, Katelynn Reising, Sarah Rick from Troop 220, Dewitt MI, construct dish washing table and contemplation bench at St. Helena.

Second floor bathroom removed at CRFRL. Evidence of long term leakage and wood rot is found.

BSA Troop 4 finishes installing and sealing floor in recreated boathouse at St. Helena

Volunteers pull thousands of nails from plywood which covered pine floor on second floor at CRFRL.

GLLKA awarded MLAP Grant for conducting engineering study at CRFRL light to determine source of leakage and rot and to itemize exterior restoration tasks.

US Forestry Service conducts nondestructive testing of timber frames at CRFRL.


2006

Volunteer Terry Pepper creates shower room for volunteer keepers at CRFRL.

Boy Scout Nick Yeatts of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank for building and installing rails for boat car in boathouse at St. Helena.

Boy Scout Andrew Wardner of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank for completing restoration of lantern interior at St. Helena with Jim Woodward serving as mentor.

BSA Troop 4 completes recreation of St. Helena boathouse.

GLLKA publishes book “Icebreaker Mackinaw WAGB 83 1944-2006” written by Sandy Planisek.

Schooner Highlander Sea makes first annual excursion from Mackinaw City to St. Helena Island.

Executive Director Position created and Terry Pepper hired as first Director.

The name of the educator workshop changed from MHEW to the Great Lakes Maritime Education Workshop (GLME) with increased emphasis on the Great Lakes to better align to the state curriculum guidelines.  

As a direct result of GLLKA initiative, legislation passed to make historic lighthouses eligible to receive surplus Federal property. Senator Carl Levin was major sponsor of this legislation.


2007

GLLKA assists Little Traverse Conservancy installing large “No Fire” signs on St. Helena Island.

Building at 707 N. Huron Ave in Mackinaw City purchased to serve as new GLLKA operations center.

Central Michigan University’s Biology Department establishes an academic collaboration with GLLKA on St. Helena Island. Two Masters Theses are initiated: amphibian and reptile studies and inventories.

GLLKA applies for MLAP grant to rebuild lantern and gallery at CRFRL.

Members of the Oakland County Amateur Radio Public Service Corps and Northern Michigan Amateur Radio Society participate in International Lighthouse Radio weekend event at CRFRL

Interior of 707 N. Huron Ave prepared for construction through hundreds of hours of volunteer labor.

Work begins on conversion of 707 N. Huron Ave from restaurant to first-class office center & gift shop.


2008

GLLKA office moved to 707 N. Huron in Mackinaw City on April 1, after reconstruction competed.

Boy Scout Michael Saunders of Troop 4 attains Eagle Scout rank by completing restoration of dwelling stairway, treads spindles and hand rail at St. Helena.  From first to second floor.

GLLKA awarded MLAP grant to undertake lantern restoration at CRFRL.

GLLKA publishes second edition of “Icebreaker Mackinaw WAGB 83 1944-2006” written by Sandy Planisek.


2009

Major upgrade to GLLKA website undertaken, including numerous resources and expanded online store.

GLLKA partners with Emmet County to have Moran Iron Works fabricate and install replica lantern and relights McGulpin Point Lighthouse as Private Aid to Navigation at 140th anniversary and relighting ceremony on May 30, 2009.

GLLKA publishes booklet “McGulpin Point Lighthouse” written by Terry Pepper to commemorate relighting of McGulpin Point lighthouse.

Property at 349 Gros Cap Road donated to GLLKA by executors of Jackson estate.

GLLKA Vice President and Director of Education MaryAnn Moore receives National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA) “With Our Youth” award for her work on St. Helena.

Videographer Ric Mixter produces video short on Scout Troop 4 working at St. Helena, and donates it to GLLKA.

Steven Kirsch of Boy Scout Troop 4 Ann Arbor, attained Eagle Scout rank by designing and implementing an accessioning database then cataloging all Mackinaw WAGB83’s documents and artifacts.

Nick Terrell of Boy Scout Troop 4 Ann Arbor, designed a solar-powered pump and an on-demand propane heating system providing hot water shower stalls at St. Helena.

Ben Kirsch of Boy Scout Troop 4 Ann Arbor, attained Eagle Scout rank by designing and implementation of a database recording digital images from scanned photographs of the restoration projects at St. Helena.

Matthew Orr of Boy Scout Troop 4 Ann Arbor, attained Eagle Scout rank by building and installing a full size replica boat car for St. Helena boathouse with Jim Woodward as mentor.

Scout Troop 4 mentors Jeanette Jackson and Sue Oldani design and lead archaeological excavation of the privy at the St. Helena Island light station.

GLLKA publishes book “McGulpin Point Historic Site” written by Sandy Planisek.

Mihm Enterprises completes MLAP funded restoration of CRFRL lantern and gallery.


2010

GLLKA organizes and holds first Mackinaw Maritime Festival in Mackinaw City on May 7

GLLKA establishes a relationship with Professor Peter Blanken of the University of Colorado by providing logistical support in the installation of lake level monitoring equipment on Spectacle Reef light station.

GLLKA Publishes second edition of book “Lighting the Straits” written by Terry Pepper.

GLLKA embarks on initiative to replica of Petoskey Breakwater light on Petoskey Waterfront

GLLKA provides logistical and historical context support to Videographer Ric Mixter in producing his groundbreaking video “Offshore Outposts.”  


2011

GLLKA provides technical and historic information critical to the Harbor Point Association's reconstruction and interpretation of the oil house at Little Traverse lighthouse and replica window shutters.

GLLKA organizes and holds second Mackinaw Maritime Festival in Mackinaw City on June 11.

GLLKA provides technical guidance to the owners of the Ogdensburg Harbor lighthouse which allowed them to successfully relight the lighthouse as a Private Aid To Navigation.

Jacob Levine of Boy Scout Troop 4 Ann Arbor, attains Eagle Boy Scout rank by restoring the cabinets and window trim in the tower at St. Helena.

Nicholas Wardner of Boy Scout Troop 4 Ann Arbor, attained Eagle Scout rank by designing and building a historically correct corner storage cabinet and workbench in the St Helena boathouse.


2012

The Michigan Lighthouse Alliance presents GLLKA President Dick Moehl with its inaugural “BEACON” award for his leadership in all aspects of Michigan lighthouse restoration.

GLLKA expands relationship with Professor Peter Blanken of the University of Colorado providing logistical support for the installation of weather monitoring equipment on White Shoal light station.,

Spencer Morgan of Boy Scout Troop 4 began reconstruction of the original assistant keepers dwelling at St. Helena Island as his Eagle Scout project.

Tommy Oldani of Boy Scout Troop 4 began reconstruction of a replication of the wellhead structure at McGulpin Point Light Station as his Eagle Scout project.

GLLKA arranges to have Doctor Sarah Surface Evans and her crew to spend a week at McGulpin Point lighthouse conducting an archeological evaluation of the location of the former station barn.

At a meeting at St. Helena Island light station on June 30, the GLLKA Board of Directors dedicates the continued preservation of the St. Helena Island light station to President Dick Moehl in honor of his vision and leadership, without which the station's restoration could never have been brought to reality.

Over the winter of 2012/2013, work begins on construction of the Hugh A. Murray Maritime Research Library in the GLLKA office in Mackinaw City.

GLLKA's technical and historical assistance to St. James Township proves instrumental in the Townships’ successful application for a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grant.

GLLKA provides technical guidance to the Crisp Point Light Historical Society which was instrumental in their successful application to relight their lighthouse as a Private Aid to Navigation.

GLLKA President Richard L. Moehl resigns as President and Director, and is succeeded by interim co-presidents Stephen Sheridan and MaryAnn Moore


2013

Steve Sheridan is elected by the GLLKA Board of Directors to serve as President of Association and Pan Godchaux is elected as Vice President.

Work is completed on The Hugh A. Murray Maritime Research Library in GLLKA’s Mackinaw City campus and over 100 celebrants attend the grand opening ceremony on June 6.

Spencer Morgan of Boy Scout Troop 4 Ann Arbor, attains Eagle Boy Scout rank by completing construction of the original assistant keepers dwelling at St. Helena Island.

GLLKA publishes its first ever full-color issue of The BEACON magazine to commemorate its 30 years of leadership in the lighthouse preservation community and the 140th anniversary of the first lighting of the St. Helena Island light station.

Funds are raised for the purchase and installation of a roll-out dock for use at St. Helena Island to allow direct access to the island by larger vessels and as insurance against falling lake levels.

Funds are raised for the purchase of two new 14’ Zodiacs and Honda outboard motors to ensure continued access to the St. Helena Island light station.

September 20, a three-day celebration of GLLKA’s 30th anniversary and the 140th anniversary of the initial lighting of the St. Helena Island light station is held in Mackinaw City. The celebration includes a nighttime cruise on Friday, a tour of McGulpin Point lighthouse, historic presentations and a banquet dinner on Saturday and a tour of the Cheboygan Front Range Light on Sunday morning.

Ann Arbor Boy Scout Troop 4 is awarded the inaugural “Richard L. Moehl Award for Outstanding Volunteerism” at the celebration dinner on September 21.

American Lighthouse Council President Don Terras presents the “Francis Ross Holland, Jr. Award” to the GLLKA for the Association’s contributions to the history and preservation of America’s lighthouse.   

Initial exterior restoration of the St. James lighthouse is completed.

Work begins on restructuring and improving the gift shop in the Cheboygan River Front Range light to allow restoration of the historic station kitchen in 2014.

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