Baileys Harbor Range Lights’ 150th Anniversary
The Ridges Sanctuary will celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Baileys Harbor Range Lights on June 7, 3-6 pm, with a range of tours, tales, tunes and a tent full of treats.
Festivities kick off at 3 pm with live music by Last Man Standing and hors d’oeuvres by Thyme Cuisine and Catering. At 4 pm, the color guard will begin the outdoor programming. After a welcome by Tony Fiorato, president of The Ridges’ board, Rep. Joel Kitchens will read a resolution concerning the range lights. Sandy Miller will speak about the lights’ history; Charlotte Lukes will share her experiences living in the range lights; Coast Guard member Steve Kingsley will discuss the process of relighting the range lights; and Ridges staff member Drew Richmond will offer closing remarks. Docents will give tours and regale attendees with tales, 3-6 pm.
The celebration coincides with the first day the 2019 Door County Spring Lighthouse Festival, taking place through Sunday.
No visit to The Ridges Sanctuary would be complete without experiencing the iconic range lights. Built in 1869 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, the Upper Range Light and its companion, the Lower Range Light, are the only lighthouses of this design that are still on range and functional as navigational aids. These modest, but enduring structures played a critical role in the history of Baileys Harbor and the founding of The Ridges. The Upper Range Light is open for tours starting the first week of June through the end of October.
At the time they were built, the range lights were considered a more effective way to keep ships off the treacherous reefs and shallows at the entrance to Baileys Harbor. From the water, a sailor got “on range” by vertically aligning the white light in the Upper Range Light, which shone at a height of 39 feet above the water, with the Lower Range Light’s red beacon, fixed at 22 feet above the water.