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This Inaccessible Michigan Lighthouse Was Used During WWII To Develop Drones


Mike Matulis/Youtube

This Lighthouse off the East coast of Michigan, the Waugshance Light, served several lifesaving rolls during its life and is now in danger of disappearing forever. Originally a “lightship” made of wood in 1832 to warn ships of the shoals of Lake Michigan near the straights of Mackinac, and finally a permanent structure in 1851. This lighthouse would warn passing ships of the dangerous area. In 1871, During the great Chicago Fire that covered the lake in smoke, Lightkeepers would ring a bell to warn ships. Then, the Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1912.

The actual lighthouse is about half a mile north of this point and is completely surrounded by water.

Google Maps
Google Maps

During World War II, the abandoned light was used by the U.S. Navy for bombing practice. The Lighthouse keeper’s house and all of the wood framing in the lighthouse burnt. The metal shell has fallen away. Today, the lighthouse “is considered one of the most endangered lighthouses in the world.” It has been said that, “. . . . it is amazing that anything remains.” –Wikipedia


The highly secretive program, codenamed STAG-1, was dreamed up as the American response to increasingly common Japanese Kamikaze attacks. Engineers fitted out twin-engine planes with primitive radio receivers that connected to the steering. Aviation Machinist Michael L Beshara later described for the Library of Congress Veteran’s History Project, “They had a television camera in the nose and a hydraulic unit that was controlled by radio impulses for each operation they wanted to control.”

Pilots flying a “mothership” trailing several miles behind would steer the drones over their unlucky targets. After dropping powerful 2,000-pound bombs, the expendable drones were allowed to simply crash down into the water. –Atlas Obscura

Check out these videos from the lighthouse.

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Plus video of an actual WWII drone bombing run.

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BONUS VIDEO: Abandoned White Pines Trailer Park In Mattawan

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