Prior to 1895, travelers on the Great Lakes put themselves in danger when crossing through the Straits of Mackinac — especially near Round Island. The northwestern part of the island dramatically narrows, leaving only a thin strip of land above sea level.
The Round Island lighthouse was erected to help mariners navigate the shipping channels. For 52 years, it served as a manned lighthouse and fog signal. But when the little lighthouse became obsolete, it was replaced by the more advanced Round Island Lighthouse.
For 25 years, the original structure sat purposeless and was vandalized. But after a 1972 storm obliterated a corner of the lighthouse, people took notice and started to care about its preservation. Two years later, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was slowly put back together.
The lighthouse now stands as a symbol of the Great Lakes. It had a cameo in the 1980 movie Somewhere in Time. The 10th annual open house is slated for July 9.