Maritime Lecture Series: St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouses

The Michigan Maritime Museum’s Maritime Lecture Series, Shipwrecks & Lighthouses will feature Kate Heckner Ulrey, Community Engagement Coordinator and St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouses Tour Manager for the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center. Her presentation, “Altruistic Edifices: St. Joseph North Pier Lights” is scheduled for Wednesday, February 19th from 6:30 pm-7:30 pm at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven.

The St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouses are a symbol of community, but did you know that the St. Joseph harbor has had a light since 1832? It is the second oldest site for a light on Lake Michigan. Learn how St. Joe went from the first lighthouse on the bluff to the two lighthouses that stand there today. Ulrey will examine the many phases of the lighthouses and the importance of maritime history in the development of the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor community. Over 7,000 people visited the St. Joseph lighthouses this summer and you can too through this engaging presentation featuring photos and discussion.

Ulrey is a former English teacher who enjoys the local history and has an appreciation for the lighthouse and those who kept the light. “Sharing the St. Joseph Lighthouses, their history and their importance has been a wonderful experience. A lighthouse is such a powerful visual of people caring for one another and respecting nature,” says Ulrey. Ulrey began volunteering for The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in 2015 when she was asked to be a guide on the Haunted St. Joseph tour. In 2016 the lighthouse opened to the public and she began volunteering there. In 2019 she was asked to manage tours as part of the museum’s staff. In addition to Ulrey, the lighthouse is run by a dedicated staff of volunteers who welcomed thousands of visitors last summer.

Admission is $8, $7 for seniors. There is no admission fee for Museum members. Museum doors will at 6:00 pm the evening of the lecture. The Museum is open regularly from Thursday-Saturday the month of February. See the Museum website for hours. For more information, contact the Museum at 269-637-8078 or visit