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Photo by Kelcie Herald on Unsplash.com

Beaver Island- Offshore of Charlevoix

Beaver Island is located 32 miles offshore of Charlevoix. It is the largest island in Lake Michigan and is one of several in the Beaver Island archipelago. It can be reached by boat or airplane.

The Beaver Island Boat Company operates ferries between downtown Charlevoix and Beaver Island. The ferries carry more than 40,000 passengers to the island yearly. The 13 by 6-mile island can be seen from M-119 north of Harbor Springs.

The island’s history is interesting. James Strange, considered to be a successor to Morman founder Joseph Smith, settled with his followers on Beaver Island in 1848. The branch of the Mormon church that he created was named after him. The Strangites, as they were called, became a political power in the region. The Strangite founded the town of St. James (named after Strange), and constructed the “King’s Highway” as the main island road.

Strange declared himself King of his faith in 1850. He was murdered in 1856 and the island’s nearly 6,000 Strangites were forced to leave.

Today, Beaver Island is a tourist destination. Beautiful beaches and hiking trails are found on the island. Approximately 600 year ’round residents live on Beaver Island. With many residents coming from Irish descent, the Emerald Isle is a beautiful spot in Lake Michigan.

Beaver Island Lighthouse

Mid-19th century, navigation on Lake Michigan was increasing and a lighthouse was needed in on Beaver Island to help ships sailing from Chicago to the Straits of Mackinac. The Beaver Head Lighthouse was a working “light” from 1852 until it was decommissioned in 1962. At that time a radio beacon was constructed at the site. 

The lighthouse has been restored over the years, and there are stille renovations being made. The Lighthouse tower is open to the public, where visitors can climb the winding stairway to view Lake Michigan.

For more information, visit beaverislandhistory.org.

For more information on Beaver Island, please contact:

Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce

26215 Main St., Beaver Island, MI, 49782

(231) 448-2505

beaverisland.org

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