In the Media

August 2021

Tawas Point Lighthouses - Honoring Our Historic U.S. Lighthouse Service Keepers

For the first time known, Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park will be providing a special Grave Marker Dedication Ceremony to pay respect to Lighthouse Keepers Herbert N. Burrows and Sherman Wheeler. The event starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 11 and the public is invited to attend.

Keeper Herbert Burrows was stationed at Tawas Point Lighthouse from 1910 through 1923, and is interred at Greenwood Cemetery, located on East Lincoln Street in East Tawas. This will be the first location of our two ceremonies.

Keeper Sherman Wheeler was stationed at the Ottawa Point Lighthouse from 1853-1857, which was the original lighthouse on Tawas Point. It was demolished after the current lighthouse was completed in 1876. This ceremony will take place directly after Keeper Burrows' Ceremony. Mr. Wheeler is interred in Alabaster Township Cemetery on Benson Road off Alabaster Road. If you are a descendant of Mr. Wheeler, we would be very pleased to have you attend the ceremony.

Both services will include Welcome, Biographies of Keepers Honored, United States Coast Guard Honor Guard, Posting of Colors, Family Remarks, Unveiling of the U.S. Lighthouse Service Plaque, American flag placement by family of honored light keepers, Lighthouse Keepers' Prayer, and music, including bagpiper.


To learn more about our friendly, fun, and dedicated group of lighthouse and state park enthusiasts, and keep up to date on all things "lighthouse and state park oriented":

  • Like us on Facebook: Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park

  • View great photos on Instagram: friends_of_tawas_point

  • Email us: info@tawaslighthousefriends.com

April 2021

Members of the Friends and the DNR staff are doing monthly podcasts with WKJC's (FM 104.7) Kevin Allen . Click here to listen to Tawas Point State Park's Supervisor Micah Jordan as gives an update on the park and dock.

December 2020

While the Tawas Point Lighthouse was closed to the public this fall, a series of virtual tours and programs were taking place behind the scenes. “Part of my job as site historian,” noted Michigan History Center, Southern Lower Peninsula Historian, Laurie Perkins, “ is to connect resources and people around the history of Tawas Point Lighthouse –taking something that is local and building it out to both state and nationwide audiences. Our recent Girl Scout Lighthouse Try It Badge program has done just that!”

Perkins was approached this fall, by Jacqueline Reimers, Program and Product Specialist for Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan based in Saginaw to bring a group of young scouts from Bay City for a tour of the Lighthouse. Covid-19 conditions prohibited such a tour, so Reimers and Perkins put their heads together and came up with a virtual way for these young women to earn their Lighthouse Try It Badge.

One valued resource that was accessible to Perkins was the virtual tour of the lighthouse tower produced by the Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park over the summer. Central to the virtual badge program, the tower tour allows visitors to climb all 85 steps of the tower and provides spectacular views of the surrounding point once the virtual climber researches the top. Constructed by Jane Chandler, Cindy Donnenwerth, Gloria Kershaw and narrated by Chris Zimmel of the Friends group, the tour provides a brief history of the lighthouse and concludes with some thought provoking questions about the tower as the climber descends.

The Try It Badge program requirements were completed over two one-hour evening programs. In addition to the virtual tower tour the program includes a history of Michigan’s Lighthouses, a short interactive story about ten-year old Elizabeth Whitney Williams’ trip across Saginaw Bay in 1855, a history of Tawas Point Lighthouse and time for the young ladies to construct their own lighthouse using recycled supplies provided by the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Council through a grant from the Iosco County Community Foundation.

Excited about the positive results from both girls and parents, Reimers decided to offer the program on a national Girl Scout webpage and program interest exploded! Perkins and Reimers soon found themselves with twenty-five girls who not only lived in various parts of Michigan, but also were from as far away as California, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio! Their waiting list for another program is now over sixty!

“Watching the determined looks and proud smiles on the faces of these young women as they built their lighthouses was incredible,” noted Perkins. When asked when the program will be offered again Perkins noted that, “ we need to work through the current waiting list and hopefully we will be able to continue the program in person if and when we are able to reopen the lighthouse to the public this summer.” In the meantime, if you would like to take the virtual tour of Tawas Point Lighthouse, please go to https://www.tawaslighthousefriends.com/virtual-lighthouse for more details.

Preserving The Point! - Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park Update

October 30, 2020. East Tawas, Michigan. Despite the high water levels and the closing of the lighthouse this year due to the coronavirus restrictions, the Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park, in conjunction with the Michigan DNR and Michigan History Center, were busy working behind the scenes to preserve and make the Point as accessible as possible during this season.

NEW - Virtual Lighthouse Tower Tour - The Friends conceived a new way for our visitors to climb the lighthouse tower, which is the most popular activity for visitors any time of year. Response to the virtual tour has been great as Alpena’s Channel 11 featured the tour on National Lighthouse Day in August, eight Heart of Michigan Girl Scout Council Brownies from the Bay City area virtually climbed the tower to earn their lighthouse badges, and twenty-five members of the US Lighthouse Society enjoyed a tour of the park and lighthouse area during August. Many other lighthouse lovers have viewed the climb online. The virtual tour helped meet the DNR’s accessibility goals and was the first of the Michigan History Center’s sites to provide a virtual tour this summer. You, too, can enjoy the virtual tower tour by viewing it on the Friends website at https://www.tawaslighthousefriends.com/virtual-lighthouse. The Friends group plans to prepare additional virtual tours for our website and Facebook page in the future to assist those not able to visit the lighthouse physically.

The seasons continue to change on Tawas Point as we are aware of different colors and sounds during a crisp morning walk at the Point. The Monarch butterflies have had their annual September Point gathering and are on their way to warmer climates, and many birds have also “flown the Point” in favor of warmer habitats. We've even seen those skiffs of snow reminding us that despite what may be going on in the world, the seasons of life move forward, and we must move along with it, too. Speaking of seasons….the holiday season is coming up and if you are looking for unique gifts for family and friends, we are just releasing our newest Tawas Point Lighthouse Holiday cards, as well as notecards, prints and apparel found nowhere else. Check it out at our website page. The artwork has been done by fabulous photographers and artists from the region and donated to the Friends organization as fundraisers to help support various Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park projects.

No matter what season, we are always amazed at how many people are drawn to Tawas Point:

• They watched as Lake Huron kidnapped the second pond near the pavilion

• They came out to see the winter and spring storm damage

• They walked the dunes from Lake Huron shore to Tawas Bay shore

• They camped in the campground in strong numbers

• They looked for a scrap of beach to sit on and enjoy

• They visited the Lighthouse even though it is closed for the season

• They read the Historical Marker and the names on bricks in the brick pathway project

• They watched and thanked Friends restoring the historical lighthouse gift shop building

• They enjoyed the first phases of preservation and restoration of the historical Oil House

• Even the Appledore sailed past to visit!

Historic Lighthouse Gift Shop Building Restoration

Our historic Lighthouse Gift Shop building exterior was restored to a new “shine!” by eleven Friends members who, socially distanced and masked, volunteered 287 hours into the gift shop’s restoration, native plantings on the path surrounding the gift shop, and a major upgrade in terms of a new sign designed and created by Kim Sanford, of Sanford's Metal Works in AuGres.

Tawas Point State Park/East Tawas Harbor Update - Micah Jordan, State Park Supervisor,

reports the park and harbor did well with camping and slip nights, even with the many campsite closures due to high water. It was amazing to see the outpouring of support from the campers this year even with the late start to the camping season.

A major project for the park this fall is building up some of the most flooded campsites. The park has purchased black dirt and will commence placing that dirt to fill the low areas. Soil placement will be followed by seeding with the intent to grow new grass by the spring camping season to lessen the number of areas that are greatly affected by high ground water, come next spring, if the lakes levels stay consistent.

*Given current health and environmental issues, all event information remains tentative for the remainder of 2020 and 2021. Event dates will be confirmed and announced as factors change. For Friends event date confirmation, please consult our Friends of Tawas Point Facebook posts, and website at https://www.tawaslighthousefriends.com

July 9, 2019

A photograph of Tawas Point Lighthouse, taken by Tammy Scott, graces the cover of the Lighthouse Digest July/August edition!


Tawas Point Lighthouse in the Detroit News!

January 31, 2020

Click here to read about our lighthouse and Keeper program.


Press Release:

Your Holiday Season Starts at Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park on November 30

November 3, 2019. East Tawas, Michigan. This Holiday season, make it a special time with family and friends as you are cordially invited to attend our “Christmas at the Lighthouse” event, to be held Saturday, November 30 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The lighthouse will be decked out in holiday finery for self guided tours, not only of the lighthouse main floor, but also the special climb up the spiral steps to the tower's lantern room for a unique winter perspective of Tawas, Tawas Bay, Lake Huron, and the ever changing Tawas Point.

The decorations include a tree adorned with ornaments like the ones used each year by the lighthouse keepers and their families, as well as some new decorations to view....including a very special Santa Claus collection that will delight all ages.

Although there is no cost to tour the lighthouse this day, donations are welcomed by the Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park to assist with future projects, such as the historical Oil House restoration, brick paver pathway project, native plantings, etc. We will also have our unique holiday cards, note cards and prints available for sale. These depict the lighthouse during the holidays and winter season by native Tawas artist, Mary Lou Peters, and area photographer, Renee Kaiser Bird. You can only purchase these through the Friends organization and they are perfect for giving as gifts or sending to those on your holiday list.

There will also be the traditional “Friends Members Only” Candlelight “Christmas at the Light” event from 4 - 6 p.m. that evening, which includes tours of the second floor lighthouse keeper quarters. Not a Friends member yet? We would love to share with you the benefits of being involved with our award winning Friends organization. You can support the lighthouse and state park activities as it fits your time schedule and interests, with a variety of membership levels and prices to meet your needs. We offer Friends Members Only events, as well as regular meetings and opportunities to care for and raise funds for the lighthouse museum and state park.

Although the lighthouse is currently closed for the season, the State Park and Campground are open year round for you to enjoy nature at Tawas Point State Park with a hike, snowshoe jaunt, cross country ski excursion, wildlife and bird watching, photography, and a great view of the stars and moon on those crisp winter evenings. The cabins are very popular during the regular camping season, yet staying in them in the "off" season is even more unique To make reservations call 1-800-447-2757 or visit: michigan.gov/dnr.

Is being a lighthouse keeper on your bucket list? If you are looking for an adventure, YOU could be a lighthouse keeper, too. Learn more about the 2020 Keepers Program and how you can apply for this once in a lifetime opportunity by checking on the Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park Facebook page, in the Files links, later this year.

(Note: Remember, a Michigan State Parks Recreation Passport is required for entry to all State Parks, so don't forget to get one when you renew your driver’s license or at the park itself)


June 30, 2019. East Tawas, Michigan. We invite you to help celebrate 100 years of Michigan State Parks at Tawas Point State Park and Lighthouse - enjoy another free family-friendly event on Wednesday, August 7, beginning at Noon and continuing throughout the afternoon under the tent on the Lighthouse Lawn.

Bring your family along to marvel at Lake Huron and Tawas Bay, take advantage of historical Tawas Point Lighthouse tours, bicycle, view astonishing kite boarding, peaceful kayaking, tasty picnicking, hiking, premiere bird watching, stand up paddle boarding, corn-hole games, free ice cream floats, and so much more.

Noon – 4 p.m: (Lighthouse and Event Tent Area)

  • Free self-guided lighthouse historical museum tours, including a trip up the tower to the lantern room, if you like, where you can view the entire breathtaking area, and see the beautiful 4th Order Fresnel lens in all its glory.

  • Share Your State Park Story: We want to hear the positive impact State Parks have had on you, and your family. Share your favorite story/stories of Tawas Point State Park, or any other Michigan State Park you have visited, as a part of the Centennial Celebration. Your video snippet or written story could end up on the Michigan DNR State Park and/or the Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park Facebook pages or websites. (with your permission, of course!) You ARE part of our history!!

  • Free Corn-hole activities: Always wanted to learn to play? Just want to toss some bags to see what all the fuss is about? Want to challenge friends and family to a fun time together making memories? We will have our new corn-hole boards set up for your enjoyment. Come one, Come all!

4 p.m: (Event Tent Area)

  • Meet and Greet Tawas native and award winning watercolor artist, Mary Lou Peters, along with natural photography artist, Renee Kaiser Bird!

Mary Lou designed and painted art prints of Tawas Point Lighthouse, which she donated to the Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park organization to use as note cards and holiday cards for a fundraiser to help with projects and events at the lighthouse and state park. Mary Lou just painted a new watercolor to be used for this year’s note and/or holiday card printing….and will be unveiling that print at the Event for all to see!

Mary Lou started this popular trend to help the Friends group raise funds ….. and now Renee Kaiser Bird, whose photograph of the lighthouse has garnered the most Likes on our Facebook page recently, is also kind enough to do the same thing with her photograph of the Lighthouse through the pines, which will be utilized in an upcoming note card printing. Stop by to meet both special artists and see their work.

  • Did someone say FREE Ice Cream Floats??? Back by popular demand, these delicious floats will be available in the event tent on the Lighthouse lawn, while supplies last. Through a special partnership with Friends of Historic Walker Tavern, you can taste the special root beer brew and have made famous...all while supplies last.

Please be sure to participate this entire year in the Michigan State Parks Centennial Celebrations. Learn more about exciting events going on around Michigan in 2019 at Michigan.gov/stateparks100. ; Like Us on Facebook at Friends of Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park, check out our website at www.tawaslighthousefriends.com, or contact us at info@tawaslighthousefriends.com. Our non-profit organization works to assist the Michigan History Center and DNR with various projects at the Tawas Point State Park and Lighthouse. Come join our friendly and passionate group - the more the merrier!


A Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into Michigan state parks.