Manning Memorial Lighthouse – Empire, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

Manning Memorial Lighthouse

Empire, Michigan

This tribute to a local man towers within a quaint lakeside park. 


This small beacon guards a sandy stretch of shore in Michigan. Though it functions as a working lighthouse, its true purpose is to honor one local man’s memory.

The lighthouse is dedicated to Robert H. Manning, a lifelong resident of the Empire area. As an avid fisherman, Manning would lament the fact that an official lighthouse had not been constructed in the town. Following his death in 1989, his family and friends raised the funds to erect a memorial lighthouse in his honor.

Construction on the lighthouse, which towers within Empire’s Lake Michigan Park, was completed in 1991. The Coast Guard considers the beacon to be a private aid for navigation. The lighthouse still works, and operates from April 15 to November 15 of each year, with a white flash every four seconds at a focal plane of 38 feet.

The adjacent community park and public beach offer a scenic respite and excellent views of the lighthouse, as well as portions of nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Know Before You Go

The lighthouse is located at the far north end of the park, adjacent to the parking lot and the beach. Please avoid trespassing on adjacent private property. There is no lightkeeper's residence.

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