The first Saginaw River lighthouse was constructed from 1839 to 1841, in a period when large quantities of lumber were being harvested and shipped from the heart of Michigan via river and the Great Lakes to the East Coast of the United States via the Erie Canal and Hudson River. This connection to major eastern markets was critical to the development of central Michigan. In 1867 the United States Corps of Engineers dredged the Saginaw River to enable passage by larger ships upriver. This change required replacing the first light, and in 1876 a pair of lighthouses were constructed in range light configuration to provide improved navigation. The front one was located on the west bank of the river and the rear range lighthouse was located south of the river mouth. It contained living quarters. In 1915, the two lighthouses were converted to electricity. Closed since the 1970s, the rear range lighthouse was listed in 1984 on the National Register of Historic Places. Dow Chemical Company, which owned the surrounding property, purchased the lighthouse and site in 1986 and boarded it up. Since the turn of the 21st century, the lighthouse and site are being renovated by the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society for heritage tourism.
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Saginaw River Rear Range Light
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