For a buyer in search of total privacy and a blank slate, we suggest jumping into the frying pan—Frying Pan Island, to be precise.
Located on Lake Huron near the town of De Tour Village, MI, the private island is on the market for $580,000.
“It was once owned by the state of Michigan, and the Coast Guard put a lighthouse up on it. Later, when the lighthouse was decommissioned, the state ended up selling it to a private party and then it ended up in my seller’s hands,” explains listing agent Cindy Anderson, with Lake Homes Realty.
An 18-foot-tall lighthouse on the 3.42-acre isle helped guide ships up until the 1930s and then fell into disrepair.
Today, Frying Pan Island has only a tiny cobblestone building and a large pier, which could be a boon for a new owner.
“Anything built by the Army Corps of Engineers is pretty rock solid,” Anderson says of the pier. “It’s in great shape and looks like it could be the day after it was built.”
The massive landing is 160 feet wide and 510 feet long, and it has a water depth of 56 feet.
“Our region is known as a sailing mecca. With this property where it is, you could have a really big sailboat there. The pier is nice and it’s dredged, so you could pull right up there,” she says.
Anderson says there’s plenty of potential for the island.
“It’s a blank canvas and it doesn’t really fall under any kind of zoning,” she says. “You could have a few cabins on there. You could tunnel utilities under the water from De Tour Village, which is within a half-mile from the island.”
The current owners had plans to put a structure on the property, but the project fell through, according to Anderson.
“At one point, he got his hands on a water tower from some town that was decommissioning the water tower. He came up with a design of a house being built out of this water tower. I think the shipping for the water tower or something fell through. Then they just decided to keep it as an investment.”
When she first got the listing, Anderson thought the island got its name because of its frying pan shape, but that isn’t the case.
“This guy happened upon the island and was walking on it, and supposedly the Indians that once resided on the island left a frying pan, so he called it ‘Frying Pan Island.’”
That man was Capt. William Thorn, who published reports say was the first person to take a ship up the St. Mary’s River and into Lake Superior.
Congress appropriated money to put a lighthouse on the island in March 1879, and the light was first lit in October 1882.
Anderson says now is the time to sell because Upper Michigan is a popular destination and many folks can now work remotely.
Boat access during the warmer months is the best way to get to the island, but there is another option.
“You could land a helicopter on it,” Anderson says. “If you’re going to buy an island, you might as well get a helicopter, right?”
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