Welcome to the Split Rock Lighthouse. In 19o7 a delegation representing steel industry and the steamship companies lobbied congress to approve funding to build a lighthouse and fog signal in the Split Rock area.
At the time, many of the steamships carrying iron ore from the harbor in Duluth were in peril due to foggy conditions and the rocky shoreline. This area was even refereed to, by some, as "the most dangerous piece of water in the world".
Congress appropriated $75,000 dollars for the facility which was completed in 1910. The lighthouse and accompanying complex was built on 7.6 acres on top of a cliff 130 feet above the lake.
In 1910 the lighthouse was run by the US Lighthouse Service. Because then there was no land access to the lighthouse, due to its remote location, so supplies and visitors had to travel to the lighthouse by boat.
Keepers would spend the shipping season in housing located on the 7.6 acre facility. The keepers families usually would only come for short visits and leave before winter began. The keepers themselves would shutdown the lighthouse and leave in December as the winter weather in the area became to poor for ships to travel the big lake.
Things became easier in 1924 when the Lake Superior International Highway was built. This allowed visitors and supplies to reach the lighthouse with much less difficulty and peril. In 1939 the US Coast Guard took over the US Lighthouse Service and Split Rock light house with it.
The original light that shinned out over the Lake Superior waters was an Incandescent oil-vapor (kerosene) lamp. It was replaced in 1940 with an 1000 watt electric bulb. The light passed through a third order bivalve Fresnel lens, which was manufactured by the Barbier, Bernard and Turenne Company of Paris, France, and flashed every 10 seconds.
The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1969 and the State of Minnesota obtained the site in 1971. The lighthouse is now surrounding by the 2200 acres Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. The lighthouse itself has been restored back to its 1920s appearance and is maintained by the Minnesota Historical Society. The information for this post came from the Minnesota Historical Society website. If you would like to know more you can visit the site here.