Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse, c. 1930s. (Image: Zenith City Press)

The Lake Superior storm of November 28, 1905, which damaged more than twenty-five ships and claimed thirty-three lives, also left two ships foundering on the rocky shoreline near the Split Rock River—then considered “the most dangerous piece of water in the world.” Soon after, a local delegation went to Washington, D.C. to state its case, and in 1907 Congress appropriated $75,000 for a lighthouse and fog signal near the Split Rock.

Immigrant workers built Split Rock Lighthouse, a fifty-four-foot octagonal brick tower, between 1909 and 1910. The lens, a bivalve third-order Fresnel, was set in motion on July 31, 1910, after the lighthouse’s first keeper, Orrin “Pete” Young, lit the incandescent oil vapor lamp for the first time. From its position high atop a North Shore cliff, the lighthouse’s lens had a focal plane of 168 feet, the highest of all lights on the Great Lakes. By 1939 it was considered the most visited lighthouse in the U.S. and is still one of the North Shore’s most popular tourist attractions.

Much more about Split Rock Lighthouse can be discovered here.