Anniversary banner

Skeletal tower (1934)

Home page (active)
Link to News page
Link to History page
Link to Facts & Maps page
Link to Downloads page
Link to Gallery page
Link to Links page
Link to Contributions page
Link to About Us page
Link to Guestbook page













Please click here
to visit the Website
of our partner, the
Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum.

If you have ideas to share, please use our guestbook. We need suggestions, positive feedback and support to keep our morale high in tackling this pretty difficult task. So please feel free to sign our guestbook even if you just want to say Hello or wish us good luck.

Thanks for visiting us

Award: Web Site of the Year 2005







FILA was founded in 2004. In 2006 we began taking care of the South Fox Island Light Station. 

What we found.....

1867 Lighthouse 2006
1867 Lighthouse in 2006.

Lean-to 2007
1867 lean-to in 2007.

Boat House 2006
Boat House in 2006.

Workshop in 2006
Workshop in 2006

.....and what we did

Lean-to 2007
1867 Lighthouse in 2013.

Lean-to 2015 after rebuild
Rebuilt lean-to in 2015.  

Boat House 2015
Boat House in 2015.

Workshop in 2015
Workshop in 2015

For bigger photos and more details please click on thumbnail pictures above.


FILA's Summer Keepers Program

Camp with Lighthouse in background

If you are interested in spending several summer weeks at the South Fox Island Light Station, surrounded by plenty of pure nature, providing occasional visitors with information about the Light Station and FILA, and doing some volunteer work according to your skills, please click here.

Pup tent with dog andLighthouse

Click here to read an article on our Summer Keepers Program, formerly called Camper Keepers Program, in the Holland Sentinel.

To see a video clip of the 2017 Monarch butterfly invasion at the
South Fox Island Light Station, shot by Ally Lang, please click here.


To read an article on the 150 year celebration by

Sandy Bradshaw on MyNorth, please click here.


To see Cathy Allchin's 2016 review presented

at the Annual Meeting, please click here.


To read an article on the South Fox Island Light Station by
FILA Vice-President Cathy Allchin in the
Baylife North Magazine,
please click here. In the view of the magazine go to page 48.


To read an article on the 2014 - 2015 window restoration by

Karen Wells in the Lighthhouse Digest, please click here.


To read another article on the South Fox Island Light Station by
Cathy Allchin in the
Great Lakes Scuttlebutt, please click here.

To read an article on our first Camper Keepers

in the Northern Express, please click here.


To read an article on Michigan lighthouses incl. South Fox
by FILA co-founder Sandy Bradshaw, please click here.


  Panoramic view of the Light Station from SE
View of the Light Station from southeast with the 1934 skeletal tower, the Boat House and
the 1867 Lighthouse.


 A Lighthouse speaks to our Inner Light.

The South Fox Island Lighthouse certainly has spoken to many a person's "inner light" over the course of 150 years, and that despite being located far off shore. It was in the fall of 2004 that a small group got together to discuss how to save this remote life-saving complex. With no funds, no boat, and not exactly knowing how or what to do, they had a singular desire: to save the Light Station. Thus the Fox Island Lighthouse Association (FILA) began its purposeful mission.

South Fox Island, probably one of the prettiest islands of the Great Lakes, lies about 16 nautical miles northwest of Lighthouse Point in Leelanau County, Michigan, making it the most isolated island in Lake Michigan. The State of Michigan owns one third of the island, which includes the lighthouse complex under the jurisdiction of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). With seven buildings and two light towers (!), the station is one of the biggest light stations in the U1SA, making the restoration all the more challenging.

To view a map of the area please click here.

The island is crescent shaped and has 11 1/2 miles of shoreline and 2,100 acres of nearly unspoiled wilderness. South Fox has no natural harbor. A lighthouse was erected in 1867 on the southern tip of the island. It was abandoned and left to decay in 1959.

Help is needed to save this light. Saving a lighthouse is no easy feat by anyone's standards. The island's remoteness and the cost of boat maintenance, repairs and gas needs are indeed great. Will you join in helping?  

Please have a look at our Membership Information by clicking here.

In the years since the foundation of FILA, much progress has been made. We have grown from a small group to an increasing number of like-minded persons unified in preserving this important part of Great Lakes maritime history. FILA has partnered with the DNR and also with the  Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum in Northport, where a visual link to the light station is on display via a live web cam.

Volunteer workers, donations and grant fundings are needed continuously - please come help. You can use the PayPal link below for a quick donation or have a look at other ways to make a donation on our Contributions page by clicking here.


Fox Island Lighthouse Association
P.O. Box 851
Traverse City, MI 49685

You may contact John McKinney, co-founder and President of FILA,
at (231) 947-1926

and / or Cathy Allchin, Vice-President
at (231) 883-7645


October Board Meeting

 Monday, January 11, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.

Because of  COVID-19, our board meetings are currently
held via conference telephone calls. If you want to
participate, please contact our President (see above).

Our board meetings are public!
Experience your FILA officers at work.
Maybe you can contribute something too.




Latest update: December 14, 2020