The best description of the first lighthouse is found in an article published in The South Haven Messenger, November 30, 1900.
The South Haven Light-House
Among the many features to be seen along the coast of Lake Michigan, the South Haven light-house is not the least important. It was built by the United States light-house board in 1873. This board consists of retired naval officers and one engineer, and all lights and light-houses are governed by them. On fresh and salt water, the coast is divided into sixteen light-house districts. Light-houses are all run under the same instructions and are separated into six different orders, depending on the size and position of the tower, and they are in charge of keepers and assistant keepers.
Our tower which is of the 5th order, is 37 feet 6 inches from the level of the lake to the flame of the lamp.
It has two small rooms. The lower one is used for a store-room, and the one above for the lamp. The upper story has six plate glass windows, each of which weigh sixty pounds, also four air tight chambers, which connect with the outer air and are used for the ventilation of the lamp. The rest of the space is devoted to the use of the lamp, which is of foreign construction costing $750 without duty.
3rd in Series – Excerpts From The Harbor Light 1872-1940 by Jeanette Stieve, published by the Michigan Maritime Museum