Holland Harbor Lighthouse
A large number of Dutch immigrants came to America in the mid-1880's prompted by religious prosecution in the Netherlands. Many of them settled in western Michigan. They founded Holland in 1847 and made it a traditional Dutch town including Old World houses, windmills, and parks planted with tulips.
The enterprising Dutch settlers enjoyed farming because of the fertile soil and the area's wet lowlands. In addition, they established a wide range of business and industries up and down Michigan's west coast, and the Holland harbor became a destination, a refuge in stormy weather, and a handy refueling port for wood-burning ships. In addition to cargo ships, private boats and passenger ships also arrived carrying Chicago residents who had discovered the beaches and quaint towns along the Michigan coastline.
To help guide both the commercial and private ships safely, the three-story Holland Harbor (Black Lake) was built in 1907. The Lighthouse is covered with steel because to protect it from the heavy pounding during bad weather. The building is painted red to increase its visibility during daylight hours. Because of its color and size it has been nicknamed "Big Red." The lighthouse has a gray-shingled slate roof with twin gables and diamond-paned windows which add a unique touch to the building. The square tower rises two stories through the roof of what was once the keeper's dwelling. The lighthouse sits at the end of a long pier that runs along the south bank of a channel that connects Lake Macatawa to Lake Michigan, so that it can be easily seen from the water.
Directions: From US-31 in Holland, turn west onto 8th Street (South Business Route 31) and go one mile to Columbia. Turn right (north) onto Columbia and go one block to 7th Street. Turn left (west) onto 7th Street and go 3 blocks to River Avenue. Turn right (north) onto River Avenue and go one mile to Douglas Avenue. Turn left (west) onto Douglas Avenue, which changes to Ottawa Beach Road, and go 5 miles to Holland State Park's Ottawa Beach parking area.
Getting back: Retrace your path along Ottawa Beach Road (Douglas Avenue) back to River Avenue. Turn right and follow River Avenue until you must bear right onto Pine Street. Follow Pine Street to 9th Street turn left (east) onto 9th Street and go 4 blocks to Columbia. Turn left (north) onto Columbia and go one block to 8th Street. Turn right (east) onto 8th Street and follow it back to US-31.