Charity Island

The Following information is from Arenac County Historical Society.

Established in 1857, Charity Island Lighthouse is located on the northwest tip of Charity Island, which is in the northern part of Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron). According to an article in the Daily News (Kingston, Ontario), from August 3, 1857, the light of Charity Island Lighthouse was to be exhibited for the first time on the night of the August 20, 1857.

Big Charity Island is often simply called Charity Island (historically, it was sometimes referred to as North Charity Island), and is a part of Whitney Township in Arenac County Michigan. In the Annual Reports of the Lighthouse Board for 1855, 1856, and 1857, the island is referred to as "Traverse or Charity island." Big Charity Island is approximately 300 acres, depending on the water level of Saginaw Bay and is three miles around. The Island is part of the "Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge" system and has been managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (F&WS) since 1997.

Construction of Gravelly Shoal Light Station was started on April 12, 1939. Charity Island Lighthouse was abandoned by the U.S. Coast Guard after construction of the new light station was completed in October of 1939. Gravelly Shoal Light is located on Saginaw Bay, southwest of Big Charity Island and southeast of Point Lookout (which is located on the western shore of Saginaw Bay).

The privately owned 1-1/2 story wood framed keeper's dwelling (adjacent to the tower) of the light station was razed in the Spring of 2003, with the brick foundation and concrete cellar remaining. In the late Summer and the Fall of 2003, the owners of the property, Bob and Karen Wiltse, had a new structure built on the same location.