Key Milwaukee

February 2012

An A-Z visitors guide to Milwaukee Wisconsin. Sponsored by Key Magazine Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Page 30 of 63

North Point Lighthouse now provides great views for visitors MILWAUKEE'S North Point Lighthouse no longer serves as a guide for ships on Lake Michigan, but visitors can easily imagine its importance when they climb the 74-foot tower. The original 28-foot North Point tower was built east of the present tower at 2650 N. Wahl Ave. Perched on a bluff 107 feet above the water, it was the highest lighthouse on the Great Lakes. In the 1870s, when shore erosion caused 16 feet of the lighthouse's front yard to drop to the beach, the government decided to built a new facility 100 feet inland. Construction was completed on Dec. 20, 1887, and the new tower was lighted on Jan. 10, 1888. The new lighthouse was a 39-foot-high octa- gon shaped structure construction entirely of bolted cast iron sections. By 1893, the lighthouse had been surrounded by Lake Park. Soon, trees began to obscure the light from the tower, resulting in the light being turned off in 1907. Community leaders, along with the Corps of Engineers, then began work to raise the tower. When a new 35-foot tower was completed in 1912, the old tower and lens were placed on top of the new tower, creating a 74-foot structure. By December of 1912 the lighthouse was back in service. In 1980, the lighthouse and keepers quarters were placed on the National Register of Historic Places, but by 1994 the facility was taken out of service and the lens was removed and stored by the U.S Coast Guard in Milwaukee. In the 21st century, additional restoration work was done as the historic lighthouse formally became a part of Lake Park. The North Point Lighthouse Friends organization also began conducting public tours. From the 74-foot tower, visitors can get a panoramic view of the lakefront and the city, and imagine how important the lighthouse was to Great Lakes ships of the 19th and 20th centuries. Currently, tours of the lighthouse and the keeper's house are conducted from 1-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Visitors can climb to the top for great views of Lake Michigan and tour the keeper's house, now a gallery with artifacts dating back to the 1880s. The lighthouse is accessible from N. Wahl Ave. or from the parking lot in Lake Park. For more infor- mation, visit 31

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