Monday, November 3, 2008

My World Split Rock Light House

One of my favorite things to do around this time of year is to head up to the North Shore of Lake Superior to do some birding and take some photos. The northern part of Minnesota gets a lot of winter migrants that we do not get in the southern parts of the state, so during the late Fall and early winter I like to spend as much time as I can exploring the northern reaches. This past weekend we had gorgeous weather so I decided to spend my Saturday up north birding but while I was there I made a stop to take some pics of an iconic Minnesota landmark for this edition of My World.
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.

27 comments:

Migs CFL fan said...

Simply outstanding photos of the lighthouse. Thanks for sharing!

Cheers!
Regina In Pictures

Lynne said...

As many times as I have visited Split Rock, I've never really learned so much about its history. Well done!

Louise said...

What an incredible lighthouse! So out-of-the-ordinary. Wonderful photos and post!

leslie said...

Interesting commentary on this structure and area. Beautiful location for the lighthouse - I bet it looks great flashing in the dark.

Maria said...

That picture showing the rock with the lighthouse on top of it is my favourite! A beautiful shot!
Thanks for sharing!

Mojo said...

The structure of that lighthouse is similar to the one at Ocracoke Island here on the Outer Banks. I can see where it got its name!

Stunning photos you have here!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Thanks for the tour of the lighthouse. That's another spot I need to write on my list of places I liked to see in person.

imac said...

Very interesting, and great shots.

babooshka said...

Really interesting and the images are fabulous. Bit different ot the lighthouses here.

fishing guy said...

EB: Wonderful information on one of mans wonderful structures. Those cliffs do look menacing.

Shellmo said...

Magnificent photos - those rocky shores surrounding the lighthouse were impressive!

gen/entry said...

Gorgeous and its cool...TC

Klaus said...

Perfect! Not only as a MyWorld post - but your pictures make it a joy to see! Bravo!
Cheers, Klaus

Mike and Lizette's Travels and Thoughts said...

This is one of our favorite places along the north shore, it reminds us we need to get up there again. Thanks for posting this.

Lawstude said...

i love old lighthouses and featured some in my blog too. great job on this meme.

Arija said...

Great post with lovely pictures and interesting historical information.

AphotoAday said...

That's quite a rock that lighthouse sits on...

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Loved your post, so interesting and great piccies

Wren said...

Awesome! Great photos, thanks for sharing with us. Minnesota is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

You are right, lots of birds passing down along the North Shore from Canada. The bald eagles and ravens are very active. While most visitors to Split Rock come in the summer, we have the visitor center open all winter, Thursdays - Mondays. Don't forget, November 10 is the annual Edmund Fitzgerald memorial beacon lighting. It is the one night of the year that the lighthouse is open after dark -- and the beacon on.
Lee Radzak, site manager
Split Rock Lighthouse

Ecobirder said...

Thank you for the information Lee.

Rambling Woods said...

You are a real birder..I watch them in my yard..Interesting info about another of our great lakes..

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