Split Rock Lighthouse 1 #14116
Split Rock Lighthouse stands high on a rock bluff coastline overlooking Lake Superior. It lies 54 miles north of the large port city of Duluth in a sparsely populated area. First lit in 1910 after many shipping losses during severe storms on this part of the lake, it has protected this coastline since then. The lighthouse flash could be seen up to 25 miles and sometimes beyond if conditions were right. In dense fog, its foghorns could be heard five miles away.
Navigation technology has dramatically improved in modern times, so Split Rock Lighthouse was decommissioned by the Coast Guard in 1969. Today, it’s a Minnesota State Park and a National Historic Landmark and remains a very scenic draw.
The lighthouse location remains a very remote area even today. Interestingly with no roads in the area back then, all of the buildings including the lighthouse itself and three homes for the lightkeepers were built with supplies brought in entirely by ship and lifted up the 130-foot cliff face with a steam derrick, down to the last brick. The place was supplied by boat as well until 1924 when a road was finally built up from Duluth.
The horizontal view of the lighthouse can be seen on this website as Split Rock Lighthouse 2. Lake Superior Magazine has a comprehensive article on the history of the lighthouse, and another article of theirs describes the life of lighthouse keepers who lived there. Both are good interesting reads that don’t take much time.
Location: Lake Superior in the Great Lakes at Split Rock Lighthouse, near Two Harbors, Lake County, Minnesota. Picture and story © Andrew Dierks
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