The beautifully restored Sand Point Lighthouse at the northern end of Ludington Park in Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and marks the entrance for Little Bay De Noc. The strange thing about this lighthouse is that the tower faces away from the water, as if it were built backwards. In 1867, John Terry was appointed as the first lighthouse keeper during its construction. In 1868, he became ill and died before the dwelling was completed and his wife Mary Terry was appointed to the position of Head Lightkeeper. Because of her husband’s tragic death, she was one of the first female lighthouse keepers on the Great Lakes. It was Mary who lit the Fresnel lens in the tower of the lighthouse for the first time on May 13, 1868.
Mary and her late husband John did not have any children, and Mary lived alone in the lighthouse. She proudly fulfilled her duty as lightkeeper for several years until one winter night in 1886 when a fire broke out in the lighthouse taking her life. The Lighthouse was severely damaged and no one knows what started the blaze. The rear door was forced opened, and Mary was found on the floor in the oil- room, where fuel and supplies are stored for the lantern, instead of in bed, where she should have been sleeping, leaving some to speculate foul play was involved. Many people in the town of Escanaba know Mary was careful and diligent in her duties of maintaining the lighthouse, and believed she was robbed and that the fire was set to destroy the evidence. I guess we will never know what happened to Mary or why the lighthouse was seemingly built “backwards,” but it is a picturesque lighthouse to visit in Ludington Park.
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