Public Programs

John L. Wagner:  An Aerial Perspective of Michigan’s Lighthouses

John L. Wagner, Artists

Photographer, pilot, and author, John L. Wagner, began flying in 1958 in a Piper J-5 on skies and is a graduate of Western Michigan University and its flight training program. He is the holder of an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with multi-engine land and single-engine land and sea ratings. He has accumulated some 9000 hours of flight time and owns the Cessna 172 from which the Michigan Lighthouse photographs were taken.

Mr. Wagner gained a working knowledge of photography through self-study and “hands-on” experience, and later in college courses. He expanded his area of expertise to underwater photography while working as a diver with the Research Division of the Alaskan Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He obtained a seaplane rating in Juneau, Alaska, in 1959. Aerial photography has been a natural adjunct to his aviation career, which involved aircraft sales, Part 135 Air Taxi and corporate flying.

John began the Michigan lighthouse series in 1985 as an incidental photographic interest and continued it with heightened enthusiasm and singleness of purpose in late 1986. In 1989, the concept of a book unfolded. To prepare for publication, further photographic work to include all of Michigan’s lighthouses, using primarily transparency film, was necessary. The first printing of the book, Michigan Lighthouses, An Aerial Photographic Perspective, occurred in January 1994 and was sold out in November 1996. A second printing was completed in July 1998. A traveling exhibit of aerial photographic enlargements has also been assembled that includes all of Michigan’s 100 plus lighthouses.

For almost 26 years, John was employed as an Aviation Safety Specialist with the Michigan Bureau of Aeronautics and was involved with the inspection, licensing and often civic aspects of Michigan airports. He edited the Bureau’s annual 312 page Michigan Airport Directory for 19 years and served one year as editor of Michigan Aviation, a bi-monthly safety and events publication. He retired from the Bureau of Aeronautics in 1997.
In addition to maintaining an on-going historical record, the quest for more aesthetically pleasing images continues to take Wagner flying the waterways of the Great Lakes.

Information about the book, photographic images and coming events are available on his website at: . The photography produced by Wagner will ultimately reside at the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Wednesday November 13, 2019   7:00 – 8:15pm     

This fascinating talk is free, with a suggested donation of $5.00.



Nationally known actor Terry Lynch specializes in historical portrayal    that meets the needs of the young at heart who are never too old to        learn something new about history’s most interesting, inspirational figures.

His one-man interactive presentations give audiences a new, first-person perspective on the people and events that make up our history and culture. Join us for an entertaining evening of history brought to life!

Make sure you catch the last of our Living History Series! 

December 4, 2019     6:30 pm

A Tale with A Twist: Charles Dickens

This Living History Series is free with a suggested donation of $5.00.