Also known as “Little Red” and “Sputnik”, the Alpena Light has been a shining beacon through the storm for over 100 years now. Here is a little History 101 of Alpena’s one and only lighthouse within the city limits:

Let’s take it way, way back to 1875. The early settlers of Alpena needed light to guide

The original wooden design before Little Red's time.

The original wooden design before Little Red’s time.

their boats through the harbor safely. So, in true early pioneer fashion, they engineered a temporary light by putting a hand lantern on top of a 25-foot pole. It was the perfect solution to their minor problem at the time. 

However, as more and more ships came to Alpena bringing in lumbermen and settlers looking for a new life, it became evident that a more sturdy lighthouse was needed.

Fast forward to 2 years later in 1877. A new lighthouse was built out of a timber design and stood in Little Red’s spot for 11 years. Until the disastrous fire on July 11, 1888. This was one of three different fires during the late 1800’s that destroyed many businesses and homes in early Alpena.

Yet again, residents of Alpena suspended a lantern back on a 25-foot pole until a new lighthouse could be

Little Red on her first birthday, 1914

Little Red on her first birthday, 1914

constructed. By the year 1913, the wooden lighthouse was completely dilapidated. 

In 1914, our Little Red was born. Concrete foundation was poured for the base and a four-legged skeletal frame was put in place to support a round watch room.

Today, 104 years later, the Alpena Light still sits at the mouth of the Alpena Boat Harbor. Safely guiding ships and boats into our friendly Sanctuary of the Great Lakes.