Saint Clair Flat's Harsen's Island

Range Light Station

The Saint Clair Flats Harsenís Island Range Light Station located near Algonac Michigan. It has been abandoned since 1985 when the Coast Guard stopped using the station. The Harsenís Island Range Light Station is located on the Northern end of Lake Saint Clair where the Saint Clair River narrows and forms the river passageway up to Lake Huron. The range light station sits on the southern end of Harsenís Island and was built in 1934 to give ships a new light to follow into the river. The station replaced the two Saint Clair Flats Ship Canal Lighthouses built in 1871.

 In 1934 a two story lightkeeperís house and set of range lights were built by the US Lighthouse Service. The keeper maintained all the aids to navigation in the river area from this station via a lighthouse service boat. The keeperís house has a built in boat house that the boat was kept in. In 1938 a smaller two story Assistant Keeperís house was built to help maintain the numerous aids in the river area. In the late 1930ís the new robot lightship ST. CLAIR was operated from this station.

 The station was transferred into the USCG in 1939 and was in use until 1985 when the station was partially closed. From 1985 until about 1991 approximately the station was used as a sub station and manned with only two personnel on the weekends from station Saint Clair Shores. The Saint Clair Flats has a long history of lighthouses and range lights in the area since 1859 when the first lighthouses were established nearby which still stand today. You can view these lights from the driveway of the station just south and a little west. The Lake Saint Clair Light is also located directly south of the station out in Lake Saint Clair. The plans are a complete restoration of the two buildings which are in bad shape from being vandalized over the years. Anyone who was stationed at Harsenís Island or has any old photoís or stories about the station is asked to contact Jeff Shook via. e-mail at rescuetwo@aol.com, by mail at 904 Mill St. Fenton, MI. 48430.

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Looking directly at the assistant keepers house.

Looking directly at the main keepers house from out front. The door to the far left enters the house. The other two doors lead into an engineering room that used to house the station generator. The window above is for a small bedroom.

A close up of the tower bottom and the assistant keepers dwelling looking south.
 

This is a view looking south seeing both buildings and the range light.

 
 

View into the dining area of the assistant keepers house. This area used to be the family room but was converted over to the main dining room for the station.  
  This is the family room inside the main keepers house. All the holes in the wall are due to constant vandalism over the years. Every window, wall, door and lighting fixture virtually has been broken, kicked in or destroyed. This house has been damaged a lot. The holes on the wall are due to the stairway railings having been all destroyed and thrown through the wall or punched through.  
  View inside the main door of the assistant keepers dwelling. This room was added to the original structure. This room was actually a porch at one time before the Coast Guard needed more room and converted it into the station office. Lead paint is everywhere and peeling all over. The fire alarm system is still intact and is mounted on the wall.  
 

Kitchen inside the assistant keepers house. All of the appliances were removed when the Coast Guard abandoned the site. Vandalism was heavy in this building.  
 

Directly behind the station is a canal that separates the island into another island that the station actually sits on. This photo was taken in mid summer 2001 and the canal is supposed to be filled with water. The low water levels on the Great Lakes are due to the canal being dry at this time. Two foot bridges access the actual station from the parking areas.  
 

Close up view from the south coming up the river.  
 

View directly east from the water. Note all the seawall and the boathouse built into the main house. The range tower sits in between the buildings. There is plenty of room to dock boats around the station.  
 

View coming up the South Channel of the Saint Clair River from the south.