Duluth’s Original South Pier Light

This Month's Lost Landmark Photograph

Duluth’s 1874 South Pier Light. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Our Lost Landmark for April is the first South Pier Light, which burned for the first time on June 2, 1874 and was replaced after the new concrete South Pier was completed in 1901. Note the tressle-like structure along the top of the old wooden pier: that was how lighthouse keepers made it to the end of the pier when storms on lake superior tossed waves over the wooden piers. Read more about the first South Pier Light here, in the Zenith City History archives.

This Month's Lost Landmark Photograph

5 Responses to Duluth’s Original South Pier Light

  1. Jill, if you click on the word “here” in the phrase “Read more about the first South Pier Light here” you will navigate to a page with a more complete history of the lighthouse and the answer to your questions.

  2. …..and now I’m wondering – what’s in the house at the end of the pier? Equipment? A room for the (former) lighthouse keeper to hang out?
    Has it ever been open to the public?

  3. That’s no urban legend, Marion! Here’s a snippet from our book, Crossing the Canal (this can be found in our Zenith City History archive by using our search feature at the top right of each page):

    “A center channel along the bottom of each monolith was left with a half-circle opening. When set in place, this opening formed a tunnel. A pulley-and-cable driven rail system was installed so that lighthouse keepers could reach their posts during treacherous conditions that would make walking atop the piers highly dangerous. Unfortunately, during storms the tunnel itself became half filled with water; it was little used for decades and later filled in as a safety measure. “

  4. Years ago there was a tale that there was a tunnel under the new pier so Keepers could access the light even in bad weather. Was that true, or just a “Coast Guard” urban legend?

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