Minnesota Point (ruins)

Year Established:
1857
Existing:
Yes
Download:
File Type:
jpg (image/jpeg)
Photo Date:
1997
Photo Courtesy of:
US Lighthouse Society Archives

LOCATION

Location:
BETW LAKE SUPERIOR & SUPERIOR BAY
Latitude:
46° 72.00'
Longitude:
92° 02.59'
City / Town:
DULUTH
U.S. State:
Minnesota
Country:
United States

OWNER & ACCESS

Open to Public:
No
Light List Data:
  1. Minnesota Point (ruins)
Light list data courtesy Gary Riemenschneider

STRUCTURE

Year Discontinued:
1878
Disposition:
Replaced by Pierhead Light 1878; Reestablished 1880; Discontinued 1885; Only Lower Half of Tower Extant
Year Tower Established:
1858
Tower Construction Material:
RED BRICK
Tower Foundation:
RUBBLE BLUE STONE
Tower Shape:
CONICAL
Fog Signal Building?:
No
Keeper's Quarters?:
No
Year Keeper's Quarters:
1858
Keeper's Quarters Construction:
RED BRICK
Other Structures:
OUTHOUSE

OPTICS

Active Aid to Navigation?:
No
Original Optic Type:
FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL
Year Original Lens Installed:
1856
Private Aid:
No
USCG Access to Optics:
No

Comments:

LENS MOVED TO WEST PIERHEAD OF SUPERIOR ENTRY WHEN LIGHT WAS ABANDONED; SERVED AS "ZERO" POINT FOR ALL THE ORIGINAL MAPPING OF LAKE SUPERIOR.

  • 1823: Lt. H. W. Bayfield of the British Navy began the first survey of Lake Superior. He designated a spot on Minnesota Point as “zero point” for the lake wide survey. The Superior Entry was the original passage through Minnesota Point, the longest freshwater sand bar in the world, to the protected waters of Superior Bay.
  • With the completion of the locks at Sault Ste. Marie in 1855, thoughts and dreams of increased boat traffic to Superior Bay necessitated a lighthouse. Bayfield’s ‘zero point’ in the 1823 survey became the location of the Minnesota Point Lighthouse.
  • 1856: Lighthouse construction began after the initial appropriation from the U.S. Congress of $15,000 in 1855.
  • 1857: Work started on the structure until late the following year, with the delivery of the materials at the site and the laying of the foundation. Work resumed in 1857 and continued throughout the year until cold weather set in, and was stopped until the coming of spring.
  • 1858: The light was completed and RH Barett, the station's first keeper exhibited the fixed red fifth order Fresnel lens for the first time which provided a constant red signal that was fueled by kerosene.
  • 1868: Report for the station it was stated that "The dwelling leaks badly around the chimneys. The rain and soot have discolored the walls. The plastering has fallen in many places, and is loose in nearly all the rooms."
  • 1870: Ships sailing to the Duluth railhead had to come through the Superior Entry and then navigated the windy and shallow channel to the Duluth docks. The construction of the Duluth ship canal on the Duluth side of Minnesota Point, ended the need for the Minnesota Point Lighthouse.
  • 1870’s: The federal government built more sturdy rock breakwalls along the Superior Entry to deepen and protect the channel. A lighthouse was constructed on the north breakwall using the Fresnel lens from the Minnesota Point Lighthouse. The present Superior Entry Lighthouse was built on the south breakwall in 1913.
  • 1895: The Lighthouse Board determined that with the completion of new piers at Superior Entry, navigation would be better served with a light on the pier on the Wisconsin side of the channel, and a new light and keepers dwelling were constructed across the channel on Wisconsin Point. Thus, the Minnesota Point keepers dwelling was abandoned, and without the constant care of the keepers, deteriorated rapidly.
  • 1902: The Lighthouse Board searched for a location for its planned Duluth Buoy Depot and the Board selected the old lighthouse reservation as the best location for the new depot, with construction of the depot beginning the following year.

Entered by:
t.wheeler
Entered Date:
Jan 15, 2018