Two Harbors Light
The Two Harbors Light is the oldest operating lighthouse in the US state of Minnesota. Overlooking Lake Superior's Agate Bay, the lighthouse is located in Two Harbors, Minnesota. The construction of the lighthouse began in 1891 and was completed the following year, with the light being lit for the first time on April 14, 1892. The first Two Harbors keeper was Charles Lederle and there were normally three keepers assigned to make sure the light was lit every day. The Lighthouse was built to provide safe passage into the Agate Bay Harbor during the early 20th century, as Two Harbors was a major shipping point for the iron ore of the Mesabi Range.
|Location||Two Harbors, Minnesota|
|Year first constructed||1892|
|Year first lit||1892|
|Tower shape||Square tower on dwelling, octagonal lantern|
|Markings / pattern||Red dome and ventilator on white lantern|
|Tower height||49 feet (15 m)|
|Focal height||78 feet (24 m)|
|Original lens||Fourth order Fresnel lens|
|Range||17 nautical miles (31 km; 20 mi)|
|Characteristic||Flashing white, 20 sec|
|USCG number||7-16500 (Private Aid) |
|Heritage||place listed on the National Register of Historic Places|
Two Harbors Light Station
|MPS||U.S. Coast Guard Lighthouses and Light Stations on the Great Lakes TR|
|NRHP reference No.||84001483 |
|Added to NRHP||July 19, 1984|
The 49.6-foot (15.1 m) tower is made of red brick and the head keeper's residence is attached, it towers 78 feet (24 m) from the lake level to the top and in 12 feet (3.7 m) squared. The walls of the tower were built to be 3 bricks thick and the walls where the tower and house meet are a full 5 bricks thick. This was for the safety of the keeper's family. The light has a total of six structures, a lighthouse tower with attached keeper's quarters, an assistant keeper's house, a fog signal building, an oil house, a skiff house and a garage. The lighthouse was originally equipped with a fourth order Fresnel lens. The lighthouse is a twin of the Round Island Light in Michigan.
In 1969 the Coast Guard removed the Fresnel lens and replaced it with a 24 inches (610 mm) DCB-224 aerobeacon which is still used today. The light shines an average of 17 nautical miles (31 km; 20 mi). The original lens was loaned by the US Coast Guard to the National Museum of the Great Lakes. In early 2015, the lens was moved back to Two Harbors and is now on is now on display in the dining room of the Keeper's Quarters.
The Lake County Historical Society began to provide tours of the Lighthouse Station in 1988 when it was granted a lease by the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1999 ownership was transferred to the Lake County Historical Society and the Society assumed responsibility for the operation of the light in 2001. While the lighthouse is still on the Light List as active, it is listed as a private aid to navigation and is no longer maintained by the Coast Guard.
Three of the lighthouse station's buildings are open for visitors to tour:
- the Lighthouse Tower which has been restored and houses the rotating light
- the Assistant Keeper's building which has been restored to the late 19th century era and has exhibits about Lake Superior shipwrecks, the development of Agate Bay and a kiosk with historical information on the area
- the Keeper's Quarters of the Lighthouse have been restored to the early 20th century era which the Lake County Historical Society operates as a bed and breakfast.
Also, on the site is the Pilothouse from the Frontenac ore boat, which contains an exhibit on its history and shipwrecks. The lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 19, 1984 as Two Harbors Light Station, reference number 84001483.
- Light List, Volume VII, Great Lakes (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2012. p. 155.
- "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Minnesota". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01.
- Rowlett, Russ (2012-09-08). "Lighthouses of the United States: Minnesota". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
- Nord, Mary Ann (2003). The National Register of Historic Places in Minnesota. Minnesota Historical Society. ISBN 0-87351-448-3.
- "Two Harbors Iron Port" (PDF). Two Harbors, MN. April 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
- Media related to Two Harbors Lighthouse at Wikimedia Commons
- Lake County Historical Society: Museums
- Two Harbors Bed and Breakfast website
- Pepper, Terry. "Seeing the Light: Lighthouses on the western Great Lakes".