Lightkeeper moored

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Photo Gallery

On this page, you can quickly scroll up and down to find something interesting.
Then you can click on any picture to view it in our Gallery Viewer (in a
separate browser window / tag, depending on the settings of your browser).

Inside the Gallery Viewer you can easily navigate forward and backward.

If you feel lazy, you can just click here to start at the first frame of the Gallery
and go through all the photos from there.

Many more pictures can be found on the News pages.





Gallery Viewer © 2016 Hans Joerg Rothenberger, FILA Webmaster

Some Highlights of 2016


Re-mounting the flag pole
Opening the season: FILA crew  re-installing the refurbished
flag pole.

Visit by two sea-planes
Visitors that dropped from the sky, so to say, and not just one...

NPS barge in Leland harbor
The barge of the National Park Service in Leland Harbor, with heavy materials for the Light Station.


Landing the barge at the Boat House
Camper Keeper Bruce Rollins watching the landing maneuver at the Boat House. We wish FILA had such a practical vessel!

The Lightkeeper delivering a huge ladder
Another delivery of a pretty bulky item, this time by the

Boat House with open doors
The Boat House, now often used for intermediate storage of heavy material. Protected by Collie Intruder Alarm too.

Schooner Inland Seas and young visitors
 Another surprise visit: the schoolship
Inland Seas with six Young Women In STEM participants and crew.
(Photo courtesy of ISEA Captain Ben Hale.)

The ISEA visitors in front of the 1867 Lighthouse
 The visitors in front of the 1867 Lighthouse, getting the Grand Tour by camper keepers Lorinda and Eric Maki.
(Photo courtesy of ISEA Captain Ben Hale.) 

West side of the 1867 Lighthouse with restored windows and new winter shutters
 West side of the old Lighthouse with restored windows and new winter shutters.

East side ditto
 A closer look on the east side. The shutters are removed in summer.

Rebuilt lean-to
The lean-to, rebuilt in 2015, now with new doors.

1867 Lighthouse being winterized
New winter shutters on the spiral staircase too.

Apple tree on the beach
The smallest of the three (known) apple trees on the Light- house property, way too early to pick, though.

West beach very narrow because of high water level
The West Beach usually is about 100 ft wide. Due to the very high lake level it was all but gone.

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2006 - 2015, an Overview of Progress Made

1867 Lighthouse 2006
The original Lighthouse, built 1867, in summer 2006,
with heavy overgrowth. The lantern room is exposed
to the elements. Roofs are leaking and endangered by
dead trees and moss.  

1867 Lighthouse 2013
Summer 2013: Overgrowth and dead trees removed,
walkways dug out, lantern room protected, metal
structures painted after rust removal,damaged roof
replaced. Quite a difference!   

Lean-to 2007
The lean-to at the back side of the 1867 Lighthouse in
2007: roof beyond repair already, huge holes in the
floor and things deteriorating even much more over the
years until we got the permission for a rebuild.

Lean-to 2015 after rebuild
Summer 2015: lean-to rebuilt, outside almost finished, interior waiting for fitting-out, doors and windows yet to be installed. Still a lot to do for FILA volunteers, but a very important step for our group.

To see what the lean-to looked like briefly before the rebuild, please click here.

Boat House 2006
The Boat House in summer 2006: heavily listing, actu-
ally near collapse, wide sections of the south wall (left)
foundered, roof sagging and leaking, all doors missing,
most window panes broken, interior and surroundings
covered with up to four feet of cobbles from the beach,
and vegetation invading the building.

Boat House 2015
Summer 2015: straightened and stabilized by internal
shear walls (invisible from the outside), walls repaired,
roof rebuilt, countless tons of pebbles removed inside
and out, walkways and boat ramp rails dug out, new
doors built and installed, windows repaired, walls
painted. Result: a little gem welcoming visitors.

Workshop in 2006
The Workshop in 2006, almost overgrown, roof in poor
condition, walls denuded of paint, partly rotting.

Workshop in 2015
Summer 2015: standing in its little clearing, new
shingles, neatly painted walls and window  frames.

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FILA's Social Side

Besides all the volunteer work, FILA, of course, has a very social side too.

Here is a selection of photos from the years 2007 - 2014 in chronological order, covering
meetings, encounters and fun at work, the people behind FILA, so to say.

Some of these pictures can be found on the (archived) News pages too, but they are
worth being included here.

(Persons are listed from left to right in the captions.)

Volunteers working on the workshop
Volunteers from the Grand Traverse Light-
house Museum team working on the Work-
shop, spring 2007. Compare the structure
with the photo above!

Carp cooking dinner
George "Carp" Carpenter cooking dinner
for special visitors: two kayakers on their
way from Sleeping Bear to Bois Blanc
Island; spring 2007.

Dinner for the kayakers
The only "furniture" inside the Assistant Keepers' Quarters
in spring 2007, wine in plastic mugs, but hey, who cares?

The kayakers ready for take-off
Early morning, readying for departure to Beaver Island:
John McKinney, Steve Zimmerman, Jim Viviano, Carp.

John McKinney, Phil von Voigtlander, Sandy Bradshaw & Hans Joerg Rothenberger
Summer 2008: John McKinney, Phil von Voigtlander,
Sandy Bradshaw and H. Joerg Rothenberger.

Carp, Laddie, Sandy & Marsha Billings
A dinghy load: Carp, Sandy with Laddie, Marcia
Billings (Summer 2009).

Dinner at the Nickerson Fire Circle
Preparing dinner at the fire pit: Willie and Carol Lee,
Marcia and Sandy (2009).

Canteen in the Boat House
Thunderstorm Canteen in the Boat House: Willie, Marcia,
Carol, Laddie and Sandy (2009).

Craigh Gulseth, Anna Sylvester, Denise Sachau & John McKinney
Party at the Northport Marina Pavilion 2009: Craigh
Gulseth, Anna Sylvester (both DNR), Denise Sachau
(SHPO) and John McKinney (FILA President).

Brian Lijewski, Denise Sachau, Sandy Bradshaw & Hans Joerg Rothenberger
Breakfast at the 45th Parallel Cafe in Suttons Bay the
morning after the Northport Party: Brian Lijewski, Denise
Sachau (both SHPO), Sandy and Joerg.

HSR crew before departure in Northport
The crew for the Historic Structures Report (HSR) in 2010:
Joerg, Cathy Allchin, Phil, Heather Landis, Ken Czapski,
Carp, Chris Young and Jerry Spears.

Ken, Jerry, Cathy & Phil aboard the Lightkeeper
HSR crew aboard the
Lightkeeper, FILA's "flagship,"
on the way to the Light Station: Ken, Jerry, Cathy and
Captain Phil.

Chris Young pushing the dinghy with Phil, Ken & Heather
Chris, Phil, Ken and Heather on the way to the
Lightkeeper after completion of the HSR research.

Linda Henry preparing dinner at the fire pit
Linda Henry, retired Park Ranger, preparing dinner
at the fire pit in the legendary Nickerson Fire Circle.

Camp near the Nickerson Fire Circle
2013: Because of all the flaking lead paint inside the buildings, we normally camp near the Nickerson Fire Circle.

Don Stauffer, Laddie, Sandy Bradshaw & Don Stauffer boarding the Lightkeeper
End of Mission: Don Stauffer, Laddie, Sandy and Gary
Stauffer boarding the

Anita & Terry Pratt and Sandy Bradshaw with Laddie
Breakfast on the dock (still 2013): Anita and Terry Pratt
with Sandy and Laddie.  

John Wells, Gary Stauffer, Dick Zaebst and Karen Wells having dinner at the Fire Circle
Summer 2014: John Wells, Gary Stauffer, Dick Zaebst
and Karen Wells enjoying dinner at one of the picnic

Laddie in the dinghy
Laddie the Lighthouse pooch sometimes jumps in the
dinghy and just waits for a ride! (Summer 2014.)

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Panoramic Photos 2013

Here are four great pictures shot by Heather Landis in June 2013.

For the article in the News Archives please click here.

The Light Station seen from the eastern anchorage. 

The stone wall along the walkway on the south side of the Boat House. 

Inside the lantern room of the 1934 Skeleton Tower, starring Cathy Allchin.

 Stunning view from the Skeleton Tower, looking NNW.

And here is one submitted by Don Stauffer:

Overview of the Light Station in October 2011
The 1934 Skeleton Tower, the Boat House and the 1867 Lighthouse in October 2013.

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2012: Island and Mainland

That was the year the Islander came into the picture, a boat bought by two FILA board members, somewhat smaller that the Lightkeeper but much less fuel-hungry. And hopefully less temperamental too....

Islander before her maiden voyage on behalf of FILA.


 The two Johns scrubbing rails
John McKinney and John Wells removing rust
from the rails in the Boat House.


Rust-Oleumed boat slip rails
John Wells says he has a love affair with Rust-Oleum.
Seems legit.

Islander's new dinghy
Ah yeah, and the
Islander got a new dinghy too. The
days of the good ole little red dinghy were gone.

The Islander after one of her missions
Unlike the much heavier
Lightkeeper, the Islander can be hauled out fairly easily.  

Meanwhile, as in former years, FILA went on participating in local and regional events to promote our cause.

 Sandy Bradshaw and Greg Reisig
Sandy Bradshaw and former FILA board member Greg Reisig at an
Inland Seas event in Suttons Bay in June.

 Stef Staley, Sandy Bradshaw and Hon. Brian Calley
Also in June, Sandy briefed Stef Staley of the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and the Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, Hon. Brian Calley.

FILA booth crew at the Classic Boat Show in Suttons Bay
Sandy, Cathy Allchin, John Wells and Don Stauffer in the FILA booth at the Classic Boat Show in Suttons Bay in July.

The FILA booth at the Port Oneida Fair
The FILA booth at the Port Oneida Fair in August. This time, the tent was provided by the fair.

Inside the FILA booth in Port Oneida
Inside the booth at the Port Oneida Fair.

FILA booth at the Leland Heritage Festival in Fishtown
Booth in Fishtown in September, with FILA's  new tent.

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Nature Around the Light

Photos of former years (see below; the newer photos are on top) covered many, mainly technical, aspects of the South Fox Island Light Station and, of course, what FILA has done there. For once, let's have a look at what Mother Nature has on offer.

West beach

Gull rock

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2009, Yet Another Successful Year...

... presented by a comparison between old and new photos around the boat house.  

 Boat house ramp 2006
The ramp from the water to the Boat House,
completely covered with up to four feet of
cobbles. Photo of August 2006.

Fall 2009: The entire ramp and the concrete
walkways from the dock to the Boat House
have been cleared.

Walkway south of boathouse covered with rocks 
Several feet of cobbles along the southern wall
of the Boat House, photo of August 2008.

Walkway south of boathouse after clearing
Same place, opposite direction, after removing
tons of cobbles.

Walkway southeast of boathouse before clearing
Summer 2008, before removing the rocks
southeast of the Boat House.  

  The excavation revealed some structures
that had been hidden, like this interesting extension
of the walkway.

Walkway west of boathouse 2008
Summer 2008: Tons of cobbles have already
been removed west of the Boat House, but
the south side is still buried under up to
four feet.

 Walkway after removal of rocks
Fall 2009: What a difference!

Boathouse near collapse
The southeastern corner of the Boat House
in August 2006, with a collapsed wall
segment, sagging roof, missing shingles
and rotting roof boards.

Northwestern corner of the boat house summer 2009
Summer 2009 (before the big dig on the
ramp): Boat House trued and stabilized
with temporary shear walls; entire roof
restored. Far from being done, but saved
from total decay.

 The extensive roof repairs of 2009, including a totally unexpected highlight, can be viewed in a separate photo report by George "Carp" Carpenter, former Secretary of FILA, by
clicking here.

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Impressions of the 2008 Season

South Fox Light Station from east
The South Fox Light Station seen from the east anchorage.

Shearwall inside boathouse
One of the temporary shear walls inside the Boat House
before reshingling.

Boathouse with internal shearwall
The Boat House with the new roof.  

The 1867 lighthouse from ESE
The 1867 Lighthouse seen from the Nickerson Fire
Circle behind the Boat House.

Decaying lean-to annex
The doomed lean-to annex on the north side of the
1867 Lighthouse.

Spiral staircase inside 1867 lighthouse
Cast iron stairs inside the 1867 tower.

Lilies in front of the Assistant Keepers' Quarters.

One of the kitchens being used as a make-shift base camp.

This is the entire furniture of the Light Station.
No kidding!

Workshop from WSW
The Workshop from SW, with the assistant keepers' quarters
in the background.

Painted eastern wall of workshop
The freshly painted NE wall of the Workshop. The roof
still needs a lot of tlc.

New shingles stored inside the Workshop.

 The 1867 Lighthouse in the evening.

Evening sun on the western beach.

The dunes just north of the Light Station.

Equipment from the Fog Signal Building on the beach
south of the boat house.

Lightkeeper at anchor, with some surveying
equipment on the dock in the foreground.

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Work Done on the Island
by FILA Members and Volunteers 2006 - 2007



Boat house original state
Boat House heavily lopsided, interior fillled with tons
of rocks.

Boat house secured
Structure trued and secured, all rocks removed. External
struts were removed later.

Boat house south side original state
Boat House south wall partly collapsed (later yet another
section fell down), many roof boards rotted through.

Boat house south wall repaired
Collapsed wall parts reinstalled, rotting roof boards
replaced, walkway partly cleared of rocks.

Old lighthouse August 2006
The old Lighthouse: heavy overgrowth, roofs partly
leaking and endangered by tree branches, metal
structures totally rusty, lantern room, staircase and
chimneys open to precipitation.

Old lighthouse fall 2007
Shrub removed, tree branches cut, walkways cleared,
lantern room boarded up; metal structures chipped
and painted, chimneys capped, leaking roof sections waterproofed.

Lantern room exterior prior to chipping
Exterior of the cast-iron lantern room,
all rusty, with only a few traces of the
original paint.

Exterior of lantern room after painting
Lantern room after chipping, sanding,
priming and painting. Nine broken
windows were boarded up.

Oil house and walksways Aug. 2006
 The Oil House with rusty roof and door and almost bare
brick walls. Most walkways buried under thick humus.

Oil house fall 2007
Oil House roof and door chipped, primed and painted,
brick walls painted, walkways freed of brush and humus.

Back yard heavily overgrown
Back yard of the Assistant Keepers'
Quarters before clearing (August 2006).

Back yard after clearing
 Same back yard after cutting bushes
and clearing walkway (Sept. 2007).

Eves filled with humus and vegetation
Eaves filled with humus and vegetation.

Eves cleared
 Eaves cleared.

Paint shop overgrown
In summer 2006, the Workshop was almost completely

Paint shop freed and primed
The Workshop after removal of the surrounding
shrubs, a priming coat of paint and some minor repairs.

Paint shop front door threshold eaten away by carpenter ants
Front door threshold of workshop completely gnawed
away by carpenter ants.

Paint shop threshold repaired
 Threshold repaired.

Walkway to the skeletal tower before clearing
Walkway to the Skeletal Tower covered
by thick overgrowth.

Walkway cleared
Walkway cleared.

Jungle around the foundation of the skeletal tower
A dense jungle around the foundation of the Skeletal
Tower in August 2006.

Skeletal tower foundation cleared
Foundation cleared and access to the Skeletal Tower freed.

Access to fog signal building overgrown
The entrance to the Fog Signal Building
was almost inaccessible in August 2006.

Access to fog signal building freed
The very same place a year later.

Five of the photos above were taken from Jan Nickerson's great slide presentation
Team Nickerson returns to South Fox Island.
Many thanks Jan!

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Areal Photos of the Light Station
Spring 2007

The photos below were shot by FILA board member Cathy Allchin in early spring 2007.
They show the progress made by our crews who worked on the Light Station last year.

Approaching from SSE
 Approaching the southern tip of South
Fox from south-southeast.

Fog signal house and 1934 tower
 The Fog Signal Building and the 1934
skeleton tower from southwest.

Station from south
 Fog Signal Building, Skeleton Tower and
old schoolhouse type Lighthouse.

Core buildings from south
 Assistant Keepers' Quarters, old Lighthouse
and Oil House from south.

Core buildings from NE
 The same buildings from northeast.

Boathouse from ENE
 Boat House and dock from east-northeast.

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The Light Station in August 2006

During a field day on August 22, 2006 (see here), the FILA Webmaster shot
hundreds photos of the present state of the Light Station.


Approaching anchorage
Approaching the anchorage from east-southeast. 

Dinghy landing
Phil von Voigtlander guiding the dinghy through the
rocks to the eastern beach.

Remainders of the dock
Remainders of the solid concrete dock in front of the
boat house.

Boat house from east
The Boat House with the partly collapsed southeastern

Inside the boat house
Inside the Boat House. The slip rails are partly buried
under tons of cobble.

Old lighthouse from south
The old Lighthouse and the little Oil House from south.
The Assistant Keepers' Dwelling (left) is barely visible
between the trees.

Overgrowth around keepers' quarters
Heavy overgrowth at the northeastern corner of the
Assistant Keepers' Quarters.

Overgrown roof
Overgrown roof of Assistant Keepers' Quarters, northern
side. The gutter is completely filled with humus.

Woods getting close
Southwestern corner of the Assistant Keepers' Quarters
besieged by trees and shrubs.

Carpenter's shop
The Workshop almost invisible
under the green.

 Fog signal building
The Fog Signal Building from east. The
door is hidden in the thicket on the right.

 Foundation of iron tower
The foundation of the skeletal iron tower
is completely overgrown.

Iron tower and fog signal building
The Skeletal Tower and the fog signal
building seen from the southern beach.

Shed behind old lighthouse
The most endangered part is the lean-to at the northern
wall of the old Lighthouse. The chimney cap (in place
in 1999, see below) is lying on the collapsing roof.

Collapsing shed roof
The badly damaged roof and rear wall of the shed.
The floor is rotting, a serious risk especially in view
of the lacking door and free access.

 Kitchen in old lighthouse
The kitchen / dining room in the old Lighthouse. Flaking
lead paint galore but otherwise in fairly good shape.

Master bedroom in old lighthouse
The master bedroom in the old Lighthouse. Some
paint remover, a good lick of fresh paint, and it's as
good as new.

 Stairs below the lantern room
The iron stairs and the hatch to the lantern room.
Pretty rusty but stable.

 View from the lantern room
View from the lantern room down to the Boat House and dock. You can see that the world is round! (Just kidding.)

 Living room in newer building
One of the living rooms in the Assistant Keepers' Quarters
in relatively good condition.

Assistant keeper's kitchen
The kitchen in one of the three units in the Assistant
Keepers' Quarters.

 Stairs in newer building
Staircase in Assistant Keepers' quarters,
beautifully crafted and still sound.

Same stairs, different view
Same stairs, different view. Some of
the decorative post knobs got removed.

 Basement of the newer building
Basement of the newer building. The electrical installa-
tion may not be up to code, but apart from that dust it
and use it.

Inside the carpenter's shop
Inside the Workshop: lots of leaves and some
flaking paint but still fairly sound.

 Little tree on chimney
A little tree growing out of one of the

Back yard after clearing
Back yard of the Assistant Keepers'
Quarters after clearing.

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Aerial photos shot by Cathy Allchin
Fall 2003

Leland Harbor
Leland Harbor, Leelanau County, one of the
possible "base camps" for our operations.

Approach from South
Approaching South Fox Island from the south.

Southern tip
The southern tip of the island with the light station.

Old lighthouse & boathouse
View from the east: the old Lighthouse, the Boat House and the remainders of the breakwater.

Light station from NE
The entire light station including the newer Skeletal Tower (1934) seen from north-east.

We would like to thank Cathy Allchin for these photos.

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Photos Shot by Zane Bourisseau
and His Relatives in September 1999.

Zane Bourisseau

Zane, son of Frank Bourisseau (S.Fox lighthouse keeper 1928 - 1937)
and grandson of Louis Bourisseau (1st assistant keeper 1885 - 1891,
keeper 1891 - 1915), spent many summers of his youth on South Fox Island.
After his visit in 1999, he tried to go there again in 2003, but the conditions
of the lake didn't allow safe landing.

On that occasion, the photo above was shot by Cathy Allchin, head of the
South Fox Island Education Association, direct predecessor of our
Fox Island Lighthouse Association.

South Fox Lighthouse 1
The old Lighthouse, as seen from the footpath
close to the beach.

Zane & nephew
Zane (right) with nephew in front
of the old Lighthouse.

Lantern room
Close-up showing the lantern room
with broken window panes.

Banister inside the Assistant Keeper's Quarters.

New tower
The lantern room of the "new" tower
seen from the old lighthouse.

Thank you very much Zane for these photos!

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Photos shot by John Bourisseau
September 1999 during the visit covered above.

John, a nephew of Zane Bourisseau, kindly sent us these photos in August 2005.
Some of them are featured on Terry Pepper's page on South Fox Island too.

Thank you very much, John!

Light station from the east
Approaching the Light Station from the east,
you see the newer Skeletal Tower, the Boat
House and the old Lighthouse.

John & Jim
Zane and Jim sitting on the biggest remainder
of the dock in front of the Boat House.

The destroyed dock
The sad relics of the dock. The fact the dock
got blasted is one of the big problems our
group is facing.

Footpath to the lighthouse
View from the footpath.

Lighthouse from northeast
The old Lighthouse from northeast.

Front door of the lighthouse
The front door of the old Lighthouse.

If you have photos, drawings, paintings, construction plans or whatever collecting dust somewhere in your attic, please share them with us, if possible together with some additional information such as date, name of the photographer, details shown in the pictures, possible copyright issues etc..

You can send digitized material to the or snail-mail
paper copies to the Webmaster's Assistant:

Sandra Serra Bradshaw
1360 S. Bay View Trail
Suttons Bay, MI 49682-9663

We will scan your documents and send them back to you asap.

Many thanks for your cooperation.

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Latest update February 8, 2017