South Haven Lighthouse, Michigan

South Haven Lighthouse

featuring Paul Hardcastle's "Peace On Earth"

South Haven, Michigan is known for its harbor on Lake Michigan, and its harbor is known for its South Pierhead Lighthouse. Since 1903, this lighthouse has stood on the lakeshore, but not always with its distinctive appearance. The lighthouse was originally painted white, and had a wooden walkway instead of the black metal catwalk of today. Before 1903, a completely different wooden lighthouse stood in its place.

The elevated walkway allows access to the lighthouse in severe weather. As this eScapes video demonstrates, rough conditions at the light can be dangerous, but also amazingly beautiful. Strong winds off Lake Michigan create a spectacular show of waves crashing onto the pier, sometimes even riding above the 35-foot tower.

Long held by the U.S. Coast Guard, the South Haven Lighthouse was transferred at the end of 2011 to the Historical Association of South Haven.

Paul Hardcastle is an English musician who crosses genres with his synthesizer compositions. Predominately a jazz artist, Hardcastle has released instrumental pop and new wave recordings. He may be best known for his electronic dance hits “Rain Forest” and “19,” a reflection on the Vietnam War. Hardcastle also releases albums under the name “Jazzmasters.”


South Haven Visitors Bureau
Historical Association of South Haven
Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light: South Haven Pier Lighthouse
Paul Hardcastle Official Site

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One Response to South Haven Lighthouse

  1. WestBankArn says:

    This description means well, but it’s a little woozy.

    This particular light house has always been painted red. Before it was installed in 1903, there was another lighthouse on the South Haven south pier, but the pier at that time went out only half as far. That light tower was painted white, and connected to the shore by a wooden walkway.

    “Strong winds off Lake Michigan create a spectacular show of waves crashing onto the pier, sometimes even riding above the 35-foot tower.”

    No wave ever rode ‘above the 35 foot tower.’ The only part of a wave that can go over the tower is the spray from the wave, as is demonstrated in this film.) Maximum wave height is determined by how far the wave comes (‘fetch’) On Lake Michigan, that max distance is about 335 miles, resulting in a maximum wave height of about 21 feet. (Google Tom Skilling, Chicago tribune
    weather man (who knows nothing about lake water temperature, but I’m sureknows a lot about wave height.)

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