Fort Gratiot, named after General Charles Gratiot, the engineer in charge of its construction, was established in 1814 to guard the juncture of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River. Its lighthouse, the oldest in Michigan, was constructed north of the fort in 1829 by Lucius Lyon who later became one of Michigan's first U.S. Senators. Originally seventy-four feet high, the white painted brick tower was extended to its present height of eighty-six feet in the early 1860s. The first official lighthouse keeper, Colonel George McDougall, Jr., served from 1825 until his death in 1842. The green flashing light that was automated in 1933 may be seen for seventeen miles. The two-story brick light keeper's house, with its hipped gable roof and pointed gothic porch, was built in 1874-75.
Today, Coast Guardsmen are stationed at this point. The lighthouse watches over one of the busiest waterways in the world.