Lighthouses of the United States: Northern Wisconsin

Located in the western Great Lakes region, the U.S. state of Wisconsin has two coastlines. One coastline faces north on Lake Superior and includes the Apostle Islands stretching out into the lake. The other coastline faces east on Lake Michigan. This page includes lighthouses of the Lake Superior coastline; the remaining Wisconsin lighthouses are on the Eastern Wisconsin page.

There is no state lighthouse preservation society in Wisconsin, but many local lighthouse societies are active.

Aids to navigation in northern Wisconsin are maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Duluth, located in neighboring Minnesota, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. USCG numbers are from volume 7 of the U.S. Coast Guard List of Lights.

General Sources
Seeing the Lights - Wisconsin
This outstanding site, written by Terry Pepper, has fine photos, extensive historical accounts, and current information.
Wisconsin Lighthouses
Another excellent site, part of Kraig Anderson's LighthouseFriends.com site; it also includes photos and accounts for each lighthouse.
Lighthouses of the Great Lakes - Lake Superior
Maintained by Neil Schultheiss, this site has good photos and short accounts for most of the state's lighthouses.
Lighthouses in Wisconsin, United States
Excellent aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Lake Superior Lighthouses
Excellent photos by C.W. Bash.
Coast Guard Lighthouses - Wisconsin
Historic photos and notes, posted by the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's office.
The Greatest Show on the Big Lake
This National Park Service page describes the continuing restoration of the Apostle Islands lighthouses.
Lighthouses in Wisconsin
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Wisconsin Attractions: Lighthouses and Lighthouse Tours
Tourist information posted by Wisconsin Online.
The Lighthouse People - Wisconsin
Photos of all the state's lighthouses by Bob and Sandra Shanklin.
Leuchttürme USA auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Apostle Islands Lighthouse Celebration
The Lighthouse Celebration is a festival of tours and programs held each September at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Site includes lighthouse photos and other information.

Wisconsin Point Light
Wisconsin Point Light, Superior, July 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo copyright C.W. Bash

Sand Island Light
Sand Island Light, Apostle Islands, September 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo copyright Larry Myhre

Douglas County (Superior Harbor) Lighthouse
* Superior Entry South Breakwater (Wisconsin Point)
1913. Active; focal plane 70 ft (21 m); green flash every 5 s. 56 ft (17 m) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to an unusual 2-story oval-shaped concrete keeper's quarters; DCB-24 aerobeacon (1970). Lighthouse painted white with bright red roofs; lantern and gallery rail are black. Fog horn (blast every 30 s) when needed. Two 2-1/2 story wood keeper's houses onshore. Bash's photo is above, Anderson's page has good photos, a 2009 photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view and a very distant street view. Google also has a street view and a satellite view of the two keeper's houses. The Superior Entry is the natural outlet for Superior Bay, the lagoon that forms the harbors of Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota. A small wood lighthouse was built on the north pier of the Entry (in Minnesota) in 1879 and relocated to the south pier in 1892. The present lighthouse was built at the end of new breakwater piers constructed in 1912. The Coast Guard put a new roof on the lighthouse in 2007 and repaired the eaves in 2009. In 2013 the lighthouse became available for transfer under NHLPA. Located at the end of the south breakwater of Superior, at the end of Wisconsin Point Road. There are good views from an adjoining natural area. Accessible (with difficulty) by walking the breakwater. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-829; USCG 7-15595.

Bayfield County (Western Apostle Islands) Lighthouses
Note: The Apostle Islands are an archipelago of 22 islands in Lake Superior off the end of the Bayfield Peninsula. The largest island, Madeline Island, is the only one that is inhabited. The other islands are all included in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
** Sand Island
1881. Reactivated (inactive 1933-1985); focal plane 60 ft (18 m); white flash every 6 s. 40 ft (12 m) octagonal cylindrical sandstone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-1/2 story Norman gothic sandstone keeper's house; DCB-24 aerobeacon (1980). Lantern painted black. Sibling of Chambers Island Light (see Eastern Wisconsin): lower half of the tower is square and upper half octagonal. Brick oil house. Larry Myhre's photo is above, the park service also has a page for the lighthouse, Anderson has a fine page for the lighthouse, Bill Britten has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a good satellite view. A handsome lighthouse, sometimes called the "jewel of the Apostles." The park service returned the light to the lighthouse in 1985, removing the skeletal tower that had carried it since 1933. This is one of five Apostle Islands lighthouses closed for repairs during summer 2013. A new roof was installed and gutters were repaired; interior restoration awaits further funding. Located on the northern tip of the island. Accessible only by boat; accessible in season by daily excursion boat and a 2-mile hike. Site open, tower normally open to tours in season. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. ARLHS USA-722; USCG 7-15580.
*** Raspberry Island (2)
1906 (station established 1863). Inactive since 1957. 35 ft (10.5 m) square cylindrical wood tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 2-story clapboard duplex keeper's house. The original 5th order Fresnel lens is on display at the Madeline Island Museum. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery black; roof is red. 1-1/2 story brick fog signal building (1903) with red metal roof; barn, oil house, and other buildings. The solar-powered active light (focal plane 58 ft; white flash every 2.5 s) is mounted on a post in front of the fog signal building. A park service photo is at right, the park service also has a page for the lighthouse, Anderson also has a good page, Bill Britten has good photos of the light station, Marinas.com has aerial photos taken during the 2006 restoration, and Google has a satellite view. The present lighthouse is an expansion of the 1863 light, incorporating portions of the older building. Endangered by shoreline erosion, the light station was placed on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List in April 2000. In October, Congress appropriated $2 million for erosion control at Outer Island and Raspberry Island Lights. By summer 2003 that work had been completed at Raspberry Island. The Park Service carried out a $1.3 million restoration of the lighthouse itself during 2005-06, and the station reopened in 2007. The boathouse was restored in 2014. Located on the southwestern point of Raspberry Island about 3 miles (5 km) northeast of Point Detour on the mainland. Accessible only by boat: dock available and excursion boats visit the island daily in season. Site open, light station and tower open daily during the summer season. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. ARLHS USA-688; USCG 7-15555.
Raspberry Island Light
Raspberry Island Light, September 2006
U.S. National Park Service photo

Ashland County: Eastern Apostle Islands Lighthouses
** Devils Island (2)
1901 (station established 1891). Active; focal plane 100 ft (31 m); red flash every 10 s; every other flash is intensified. 71 ft (21.5 m) round cylindrical cast iron tower with square pyramidal steel bracing, lantern and gallery. The original 3rd order Fresnel lens was removed by Coast Guard in 1989 and then returned to the tower by the park service in 1992, but it is not in use; the active light is a solar-powered 190 mm lens mounted on the gallery. Tower painted white, lantern black. Two 2-story Queen Anne brick and wood keeper's houses (1891 and 1896), two brick oil houses, and other buildings. Original wood fog signal building. The tower also carries an array of weather instruments as a NOAA National Data Buoy Center C-MAN station. The park service also has a page for the lighthouse, Anderson has a fine page with many photos, Luiz Felipe de Castro has a good photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Lighthouse Digest has other historic photos in a September 2003 article, and Google has a good satellite view. Marking the northernmost point of the Apostle Islands, this lighthouse replaced an 1891 wooden tower and is a sibling of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Light (see below). The steel bracing was added in 1914 because high winds caused the tower to sway alarmingly. The Coast Guard has a 1913(?) historic photo of the lighthouse without the bracing, and Huelse has a historic postcard view also showing the original appearance of the station. This is one of five Apostle Islands lighthouses closed for repairs during summer 2014; the keeper's house was restorated inside and out and new concrete footings were poured for the light tower; the exterior and foundation of the fog signal building were also restored. Located on the northern tip of Devils Island, about 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Point Detour on the mainland. Accessible only by boat (dock available; water taxi service available in season). Site open, tower open to tours in season. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. ARLHS USA-228; USCG 7-15565.
Outer Island
1874 (O.M. Poe). Active; focal plane 130 ft (40 m); white flash every 10 s. 90 ft (27.5 m) round brick tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-1/2 story brick keeper's house; solar-powered 300 mm lens (1992). Tower painted white with black trim; lantern roof is also black. Frame fog signal building, original but modified; twin type F diaphone foghorns (1929) in place. The park service also has a page for the lighthouse, Anderson has an excellent page for the station, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a good satellite view. A complete and well preserved light station. Endangered by shoreline erosion, the light station was placed on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List in April 2000. In October, Congress appropriated $2 million to save both the Outer Island and Raspberry Island Lights. However, the Park Service needed nearly all the money for Raspberry Island; more than $2 million more is needed for Outer Island. This is one of five Apostle Islands lighthouses closed for repairs during summer 2014; the tower was repaired and painted and the lantern glass replaced. The fog signal building received roof and foundation repairs. Located at the northern end of the island. Accessible only by boat (a dock is provided, but landing should be attempted only in fine weather). Site open, tower occasionally open to tours in season. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. ARLHS USA-572; USCG 7-15255.
Gull Island
1928. Active; focal plane 56 ft (17 m); white flash every 10 s. 50 ft (15 m) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with gallery, painted black; 250 mm lens. No keeper's house; keepers at Michigan Island were responsible for maintenance until 1943. Anderson has a page with two photos, Pepper has a photo, and the shadow of the tower is conspicuous in Google's satellite view. This light was maintained by the Michigan Island Light keepers. Located on a small island at the end of a sandbar about 1 mile (1.6 km) off the northeast tip of Michigan Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. ARLHS USA-1065; USCG 7-15260.
** Michigan Island (1)
1857. Inactive 1858-1869 and since 1929. 64 ft (19.5 m) round brick tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-1/2 story brick keeper's house. The (3-1/2) order Fresnel lens (1869) is on display at the national lakeshore visitor center in Bayfield. Tower and keeper's house painted white; lantern is black. Austin Gruenweller's photo is at right, Anderson has an excellent page for the lighthouse, Lighthouse Digest has an article on the history of the light station, and Google has a satellite view. This is one of five Apostle Islands lighthouses closed for repairs during summer 2014; a thorough restoration including painting, plastering, and a new roof; new exhibits were planned. Located on the southwestern end of Michigan Island. Accessible only by boat (dock available; water taxi service available in season). Site open, tower normally open to guided tours in season (closed in 2013). Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. ARLHS USA-947.
* Michigan Island (2)
1880; relocated to this site in 1929. Active; focal plane 170 ft (52 m); white flash every 6 s. 102 ft (31 m) hexagonal pyramidal cast iron skeletal tower with central cylinder, lantern and gallery; 300 mm lens. 2-story brick keeper's house (1928), 1-1/2 story assistant keeper's house, barn, and other buildings. Tower painted white, lantern black. Austin Gruenweller's photo is at right, the national lakeshore's page has additional photos and information, Anderson also has a page for the lighthouse with several photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. A sibling of the Liston Range Rear Light in Delaware, this tower was relocated from Schooner Ledge on the Delaware River in Pennsylvania (the Coast Guard has a photo of the tower at its original location). Located adjacent to the older tower. Accessible only by boat (dock available; water taxi service available in season). Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. ARLHS USA-494; USCG 7-15275.


Older (top) and newer Michigan Island Lights, July 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photos by Austin Gruenweller


Ashland County: Long Island and Ashland Lighthouses
Chequamegon Point (1)
1896. Inactive since 1987. 42 ft (13 m) square pyramidal cast iron skeletal tower with lantern, gallery, and an enclosed workroom below the lantern. Lighthouse painted white, lantern roof red. Keeper's house burned. Lighthouse Digest has an article on the history of the light station, the national lakeshore has a page on all the Long Island lighthouses, Anderson has a page with good photos, a 2008 view from the lake is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, the Coast Guard has a closeup historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the western end of Long Island, about 2/3 mile (1 km) west of LaPointe Light. A Coast Guard helicopter moved the tower back 150 ft (45 m) from the eroding shoreline in 1987. Accessible only by boat; water taxi service available in season. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
[Chequamegon Point (2)]
1987. Active; focal plane 33 ft (10 m); green flash every 4 s. 35 ft (11 m) round cylindrical steel tower, painted white, with 300 mm lens at the top. This "D9" tower is similar to many others on the Great Lakes. Built next to the 1895 tower. Accessible only by boat; water taxi service available in season. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. ARLHS USA-164; USCG 7-15295.
[LaPointe (1)]
1858. Inactive since 1896 and abandoned since 1938. The building was expanded to 2-1/2 stories for use as a keeper's house in 1896, and the light tower was removed at that time. The building is now in ruins. Located on Long Island about 1/4 mile (400 m) east of Chequamegon Point and 3/4 mile (1.2 km) west of the 1896 LaPointe (2) Light. Site open. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
LaPointe (2)
1896. Active; focal plane 70 ft (21 m); green light 3 s on, 3 s off. 65 ft (19.5 m) square pyramidal steel tower with lantern, double gallery, and central cylinder; 300 mm lens (1964). A sibling of the Coney Island Light in New York. 2-story wood keeper's house (1938), brick oil house, iron oil house. Also at this site is the foundation of an 1891 fog signal building. Anderson has a fine page with good photos, a wintry aerial photo is available, Marinas.com also has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Lighthouse Digest also has an article on the history of the light station. This is one of five Apostle Islands lighthouses closed for repairs during summer 2014; the keeper's house received a new roof and new footings for the light tower were installed. Located on Long Island, in the mouth of Chequamegon Bay northeast of Washburn. Accessible only by boat; water taxi service available in season. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. ARLHS USA-423; USCG 7-15280.
Ashland Breakwater
1915. Active; focal plane 60 ft (18 m); white flash every 6 s. 58 ft (17 m) square pyramidal reinforced concrete tower topped by cylindrical watch room and lantern; solar-powered 250 mm lens. Lighthouse is white; lantern dome painted red. The original 2-story wood keeper's house is onshore (there were also living quarters in the tower). Greg Minor's photo is at right, Schultheiss has an excellent closeup photo by Jim Lindho, Anderson has a page with a distant view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a satellite view. Google has a satellite view of the keeper's house. The lighthouse is built at the end of 1.5 mi (2.5 km) long detached breakwater that protects the harbor of Ashland. Accessible only by boat. There are views from Bayview Park, off US 2 east of downtown. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-019; USCG 7-15310.
Ashland Breakwater Light
Ashland Breakwater Light, March 2008
Flickr photo copyright Greg Minor; permission requested

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Minnesota | East: Western Upper Michigan

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index

Posted September 2002. Checked and revised October 22, 2014. Lighthouses: 12. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.