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Former Door County Maritime Museum Director Bob Desh wrote this of lighthouses:

A variety of towers have played essential rolls in the nation’s maritime history. Signal towers, watch towers and light towers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes once dotted America’s coastlines, including here on the Great Lakes, where Door County lighthouses remain important guides. These historic maritime towers continue to fascinate.

While the idea behind the lighthouse was a practical one, there’s something elusive about them which fascinates many people. Perhaps it’s their link with the past; perhaps, that they served a heroic purpose. That fascination is very palpable here in Door County where its 11 lighthouses constitute one of the highest concentration of lights in the United States.

The light tower’s intention is to simply save lives, to protect all mariners as they approach rocky shores and bring light in the midst of the fog and darkness. It almost seems as though these breathtaking structures are guarding a secret from the rest of society, tales of lives that were saved and souls that were once housed within their walls.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=451&v=y7kiuMmroS4

Door County Lighthouse Tours

Door County Lighthouse Festival: June 7 – 9, 2019
Boat excursions and guided land-based tours to all 11 historic Door County lighthouses giving visitors access to lighthouses that aren’t typically open to the public, including Chambers Island, Plum Island and Sherwood Point lighthouses.

Many of the Door County lighthouses also offer docent led tours and/ or group tours. Check out all the Door County lighthouses for more information!

Baileys Harbor Range Lights

Ridges Sanctuary
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Situated within the grounds of The Ridges Sanctuary, the Baileys Harbor Range Lights actually replaced a failed first attempt in 1852. The first lighthouse was a circular stone structure with an iron top that resembled a birdcage. Today, it is privately owned and can only be viewed from the water.

Baileys Harbor Range Light

The relit Range Lights in June 2015.

Birdcage Lighthouse

Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Located on an island near Baileys Harbor, the Birdcage Lighthouse wasn’t kept open for very long. It’s brief history though is what lead to the creation of the Cana Island Lighthouse as well as the Range Lights.

Birdcage Lighthouse

The Baileys Harbor Birdcage Lighthouse.

Cana Island Lighthouse

8800 E. Cana Island Rd
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Door County’s most photographed and painted lighthouse, Cana Island Lighthouse gives visitors breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the peninsula.

Cana Island Lighthouse

Chambers Island Lighthouse

Chambers Island

Located on Chambers Island off the shore of Fish Creek, the Chambers Island Lighthouse is closed from the public but the grounds are still accessible to visitors.

Chambers Island Lighthouse

Chambers Island Lighthouse. Submitted photo.

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

Within Peninsula State Park
Fish Creek, WI 54212

Tucked away in Peninsula State Park, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse offers picturesque views of Green Bay waters and a look into the historic site.

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. Photo by Len Villano.

Pilot Island Lighthouse

Pilot Island
Located on a small island between the mainland and Washington Island, Pilot Island Lighthouse is still in the process of rehabilitation after years of neglect.

Pilot Island. Photo by Tim Sweet.

Plum Island Lighthouse

Plum Island

Located off the tip of the peninsula on Plum Island, the Plum Island Lighthouse grounds and dwelling are currently off-limits to visitors. The island, however, started to offer special days and excursions where people can explore the island.

Pottawatomie Lighthouse

Pottawatomie Lighthouse on Rock Island. Photo courtesy of the Door County Maritime Museum.

Washington Island, WI 54246

Hailed as the “Grandfather” of Door County lighthouses, Pottawatomie Lighthouse boasts a long history and was the first lighthouse to be built in the county.

 

Sherwood Point Lighthouse

Sherwood Point
Nasewaupee, WI 54235

Perched along the southern side of the canal, Sherwood Point Lighthouse boasts a rich nautical history. While the grounds are off limits to civilians, boaters can catch a glimpse of the unique lighthouse.

Sherwood Point Lighthouse. Dan Eggert.

The Sherwood Point Lighthouse in Sturgeon Bay, one of 11 lighthouses in Door County. Photo by Dan Eggert.

Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Light

Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Located at the northern side of the entrance to the Sturgeon Bay Canal, the Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Light is now privately owned. The dwellings and tower are closed to the public but the lower level breakwall is still open.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipNpaqQ_nWY&t=23s

  • Len Villano, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

    Revamping Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

    It was a spectacular lighthouse when it was completed in 1868 at a cost of $12,000 – Milwaukee cream city brick construction, a unique design (a square tower, set at an angle) that distinguished it from others of its kind, and a prime Door County location on the water. Over the next 58 years, it […]

  • Pottawatomie Lighthouse. Tim Sweet.

    A Prize Worth the Journey: Pottawatomie Lighthouse on Rock Island

    Imagine, if you can, a time nearly 200 years ago when Green Bay and Prairie du Chien were the only two major towns in Wisconsin. When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825, the already thriving shipping trade between Green Bay and cities on the eastern Great Lakes increased dramatically. Troubled by the number of […]

  • Sherwood Point Lighthouse

    Sherwood Point Lighthouse: The Keeper of the Ship Canal

    Known for its uncharacteristic red brick and for its double distinction of being both the last Door County lighthouse to be automated and the last manned lighthouse on the Great Lakes, Sherwood Point Lighthouse is perched at the end of a serene country road, near Sturgeon Bay’s Idlewild area. The story of Sherwood Point is […]

  • Dimmed Lights Brightened: The Long Road to Restoration on Plum and Pilot Islands

    For over a century they served as beacons for ships and fishermen in the treacherous passage through Death’s Door, the foreboding stretch of water between Lake Michigan and Green Bay at the tip of the peninsula that would steal its name, Door County. The lighthouse on Plum Island and the range light on Pilot Island […]