The Desolate Lighthouse of Skillagalee Island
If you can handle the trek, it may be worth your time some sunny afternoon to boat out to Skillagalee Island and visit the old Ile Aux Galets Lighthouse. This tiny island can be found seven miles into Lake Michigan, northwest of Cross Village in Emmet County.
“Ile Aux Galets” is French for “Island of Pebbles” and was mispronounced by the English, who were saying it as “Skill-a-ga-lee”, therefore the double names.
The lighthouse was built in 1851 thanks to an 1850 shipwreck – the A.D. Patchin was pounded into pieces by a fierce storm near the island. The harsh weather soon wrecked that lighthouse and a second was erected in 1868. Twenty years later, a third tower was built which is the one that stands to this day.
Lighthouse keepers set up their homes here from 1850 until 1969 when the Coast Guard tore down all the buildings except the light tower. The keeper’s house, boathouse, oil storage shed, and fog signal structure were all unceremoniously torn down.
It would make an interesting afternoon to boat out seven miles into Lake Michigan to experience this rarely-spoken-of lighthouse.....it will not be an easy, leisurely trip. You may fight thousands of insects. Hundreds of seagulls with fly overhead – some will poop on you, others will attack by swooping down at you.
Check out the photo gallery below and take a look!