Plum Island Lighthouse
Located off the tip of the peninsula on Plum Island, the Plum Island Lighthouse grounds and dwelling have recently been opened to visitors (June 2017). FOPPI raised enough funds to renovate the site and have built a dock on the northern side of the island where private boaters can dock. Read more to learn about the newly opened island and the access availability.
Plum Island Lighthouse History
1895: Lighthouse Board obtains funding to build range lights.
1896: The lighthouse and site are built and completed.
1897: Martin N. Knudsen, former Pilot Island Lighthouse keeper, is appointed as the first keeper.
1899: Hans J. Hanson is appointed as the new keeper.
1905: Charles E. Young is appointed as the new keeper.
1907: Joseph Boshka is appointed as the new keeper.
1911: Charles Boshka is appointed as the new keeper.
1921: Robert G. Young is appointed as the new keeper.
1927: Oscar Johnson is appointed as the new keeper.
1929: William Renier is appointed as the new keeper.
1931: A new fog signal is installed.
1937: William C. Kincaide is appointed as the new keeper.
1939: Lighthouse Service is absorbed into the U.S. Coast Guard. They took over the range lights.
1941: A radio beacon is put on Plum Island.
1964: The wooden front range light is replaced with a steel skeletal tower.
1969: The lights are automated.
1975: The fog signal is discontinued.
1991: The Coast Guard abandons Plum Island.
2000: Plum Island Lighthouse is named one of the 10 most endangered historic properties in the state by the Wisconsin Trust for Historic Preservation.
2007: Control of the island is handed over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
2013: Efforts to clean up Plum Island is started by Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands.
2014: Plum Island is opened to the public for special visitor access days.
2017: Plum Island opened to the public with a newly built dock on the north side of the island.
Hikers head to the Plum Island Range Light, an opportunity that might be more accessible if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s plans for the Great Lakes Islands National Wildlife Refuges move forward. Photo by Tim Sweet.
Plum Island Boathouse before restoration.
Plum Island. Photo by Kathleen Maci.
Plum Island. Photo by Dan Eggert.
Ingar Olsen served on Plum Island beginning in 1896. Submitted.
The watch tower on Plum Island. Submitted.