1850 – Grass Isle, June 27, 1850 - The deck of the light wants to be worked down to give it more pitch. It is of plank, and will cost $20. Balance all in good order, and conduct of keeper good.
1855 - Keeper James Moore $350
1857 – The Grassy Island light-house, in Detroit river, was found to be in a dangerous condition, rendering it necessary to rebuild it this season to save it from destruction during the winter. It will be finished before cold weather sets in.
1868 – Grassy island.—The house and tower of this station are of wood and stand upon a pile foundation on a shoal in Detroit river. The roof of the dwelling is in a very leaky condition, in consequence of which much of the plastering has fallen off. The tower and dwelling require painting inside and out. The lantern, of the old pattern, should be replaced by a fifth order lantern of modern style. An estimate of the cost of the necessary repair and improvements is submitted.
1869 – Grassy Island.—The dwelling has been replastered and reshingled; both house and tower have been painted inside and out. A new lantern and deck have been placed on the tower, and the pile pier upon which the building stands has also been repaired.
1879 – Grassy Island, Detroit River, Michigan.—The old pile foundation of this light-house had rotted so that there was danger of the structure falling into the river. A new foundation was therefore built for it, by coffer-damming the site, lowering the bottom, driving piles, cutting them off at the surface, covering with framed-timber and plank, and building on this a stone foundation protected on the upstream side by the icebreaker, which was repaired. The light-house itself should be rebuilt of masonry over this foundation. It is estimated that this will cost $15,000. An appropriation of that amount is therefore suggested.
1880 – Grassy Island, Detroit River, Michigan. The light was changed from fixed white of the sixth order to a fifth-order fixed white light, varied by flashes of intervals of one minute, on the opening of navigation in the spring of 1880.
1880 – Grassy Island, Detroit River, Michigan.—A new foundation was built, as the old one was in a most dangerous condition. A keeper’s new dwelling and tower should be built at cost of $15,000.
1881 – Grassy Island, on Grassy Island Shoal, Detroit River, Michigan.— A new tower and keeper’s dwelling were built, the old tower and dwelling removed, and some slight repairs were made at the station. The coffer-dam surrounding the dwelling should be filled in with stone and earth, and some piles be driven at the upper end to protect it from ice. This, it is estimated, will cost about $2,000.
1882 – Grassy Island, on Grassy Island Shoal, Detroit River, Michigan.— Certain minor repairs were made. The coffer-dam surrounding the dwelling should be filled in with stone and earth and some piles be driven at the upper end, to protect it from ice. It can be done at an estimated cost of $2,000.
1883 – Grassy Island, on Grassy Island Shoal, Detroit River, Michigan.— Thirty-five 20-foot oak piles were driven at the head of the coffer dam, to protect the latter from the ice, and were secured with caps and binders, the concrete floor of the cellar was raised to bring it above the ordinary stage of the water in the river, and minor repairs were made to the dam and to the dwelling.
1891 – Grassy Island, on Grassy Island Shoal, Detroit River, Michigan.—Twelve shade trees were planted around the dwelling. A contract was made on June 25, 1891, for furnishing the material and labor required for strengthening the face of the east and west sides of the north end of the cofferdam. Various repairs were made.
1892 – Grassy Island, on Grassy Island Shoal, Detroit River, Michigan.—The contract work of strengthening the cofferdam on the east and west sides of the north end, by driving a row of piles and securing the same in front of the sheet piling, was completed. Various repairs were made.
1893 – Grassy Island South End Range, on or near Grassy Island, Detroit River, Michigan.—A light is needed in connection with Grassy Island Light, to form a range south from Grassy Island to intersect the new Grosse Isle Range, at a point in the channel opposite to Mamajuda light-house. A proper beacon light can be established on the little island where the Grassy Island fisheries are situated for not exceeding $700, and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made therefor.
1894 – Grassy Island south channel range, on or near Grassy Island, Detroit River, Michigan.—The following recommendation, made in the Board’s last annual report, is renewed:
A light is needed in connection with Grassy Island light, to form a range south from Grassy Island to intersect the new Grosse Isle range, at a point in the channel opposite to Mamajuda light-house. A proper beacon light can be established on the little island where the Grassy Island fisheries are situated for not exceeding $700, and it is recommended that an appropriation of this amount be made therefor.
1894 – Grassy Island, on Grassy Island Shoal. Detroit River, Michigan.—A new plank deck was laid over the old piling at the south side of this station to afford a better landing for boats. The old wooden platform around the dwelling was removed and the space was filled with earth taken from the island near the fishery. A heavy riprap of stone was laid entirely around this island to protect the interior, which was fast washing away by reason of the decay of the wooden sheet piling which encircles the station. The quantity of stone in the riprap is about 2,380 tons. A circular iron house for storage of oil was set up at the station upon a temporary foundation; a permanent foundation could not be secured until the site was protected from the wash of the river. The house will soon be placed on a permanent foundation and will be lined with brick, which are at the site.
1895 – Grassy Island south channel range, on or near Grassy Island, Detroit River, Michigan.—By the act approved March 2, 1895, an appropriation of $6,700 was made for completing the lighting of the north and south ends of this island. This beacon in range with Grassy Island light will serve to keep vessels off the south shoals between Mamajuda and Grassy Island.
1895 – Grassy Island, on Grassy Island Shoal, Detroit River, Michigan.—About 2,380 tons of riprap stone were placed around the island under contract to protect the interior, which was fast washing away by reason of the decay of the wooden sheet piling which encircles the station.
1896 – Grassy Island, on Grassy Island Shoal, Detroit River, Michigan.—This light not only indicates the position of the elbow of Grassy Island Shoal, but serves also as a rear light for the Grassy Island (south channel) Range. The gallery deck of the tower lantern was repaired, and earth was placed about the dwelling to fill the depressions caused by the settlement of earth deposited the year before.
1896 – Grassy Island (south channel) Range, Detroit River, Michigan.— By act approved March 2, 1895, $6,700 was appropriated for the completion of the lighting of the north and south ends of Grassy Island. A beacon was built about 1,300 feet south of Grassy Island main light on the island known as Grassy Island Fishery, and a light was established in it to form with the Grassy Island main light a range south for running the main channel of Detroit River between Grosse Isle north channel and the Mamajuda Island range lines. The beacon is square in plan, pyramidal, surmounted by a copper-roofed lantern, surrounded by a gallery with hand rail. The light is exhibited from a 90-degree lens lantern. The focal plane of the light is 25 feet high. Several old buildings useless to the light-station were torn down.
1897 - Oil houses were erected one at each of the following-named lightstations: Ashtabula, Ohio; Galloo Island, New York; Braddock Point, New York; Stony Point, New York; South Bass, Ohio; Grassy Island, Michigan. The metal work for these was purchased the previous year.
1897 – Grassy Island, on Grassy Island Shoal, Detroit River, Michigan.—An embankment was thrown up by a dredge between the main and Fishery islands, a distance of about 1,000 feet, to facilitate communication with the front light. Various repairs were made.
1898 – Grassy Island (south channel) Range, on Grassy Island Shoal, Detroit River, Michigan.—Some 900 feet of embankment between the beacons were graded, and 1,376 feet of plank walk was built from the landing wharf at the rear range light to the front beacon.
1899 – Grassy Island (south channel) range, Detroit River, Michigan.—The east side of the embankment forming the walk south from the rear range light was revetted with riprap stone as far as it is at present exposed to the swash of the water. Various repairs were made.
1900 – Grassy Island, south channel range, Detroit River, Michigan.—The rear light-tower was built up 10 feet higher. The slopes of the embankment between beacons were riprapped with about 10 cords of stone. Minor repairs were made.
1901 – Grassy Island south channel range, Detroit River, Michigan.—Some 35 cords of riprap stone was placed on slopes of the embankment between the beacons. Various repairs were made.
1905 – Grassy Island south channel range, Detroit River, Michigan.—Some 731 tons of riprap were placed on the embankment leading from the wharf to the south island and near the front range beacon.
1906 – Grassy Island south channel range, Detroit River, Michigan.—Some 339 tons of riprap stone were placed on the embankment between the beacons to protect it from damage by water and ice.
1916 – E. Van Natta, keeper south range, and H.W. Noel, keeper north range, towed disabled motor boat owned by L. Cuneaz, with 8 passengers aboard to shore.
1916 – E. Van Natta, keeper south range, towed small scow beyond control with 4 boys aboard, to safety.
1917 – Grassy Island South Channel Range Lights. The range was discontinued as such, the front light discontinued and the rear light retained without change, and to be hereafter known as Grassy Island Light Station.
1920 – Grassy Island Light, Detroit River. Intensity of Grassy Island Light was decreased on May 3, 1920, to about 900 candlepower, with no other change.
1921 – Fighting Island Channel straightened. At Grosse Island an acetylene light in a fifth-order lens was installed in the old frame tower. At Mamajuda, Grassy Island, and Ecorse the old structures were removed and 200-millimeter acetylene lights established on 25-foot structural steel towers on steel tank houses with concrete foundations. The entire system is nonattended, but is under the observation of a keeper in the locality, whose duty it is to keep the aids in a serviceable condition. The work was begun in the fall of 1916 and completed June, 1921, at a cost of $24,916.16.
1921 – Grassy Island Light Station. Grassy Island Light Station was changed on March 31, 1921, to show a flashing white light every 2 seconds, of 70 candlepower, 26 feet above water on a black skeleton tower, on a concrete pier, at a point on easterly edge of island.
1954 – Grassy Island electrified and candlepower increased.
Keepers: Israel Noble (1849 – 1853), James Moore (1853 – 1856), James W. Deneale (1856 – 1861), P.S. Permele (1861 – 1867), James Welch (1867), Robert McDonald (1867 – 1871), Mark T. Chase (1871 – 1873), Samuel J. Lawrence (1873 – 1877), Benjamin F. Knapp (1878 – 1880), Jane G. Knapp (1880 – 1884), Samuel J. Lawrence (1884), John M. Bryan (1884 – 1903), Edward Van Natta (1904 – 1921), William J. Miller (1926).