Digest>Archives> January 2003

Minnesota Point Lighthouse Ruins

By Randy C. Hemstad


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The Minnisota Point Lighthouse, circa 1860. Photo ...

What an honor, the only lighthouse to serve on the "longest freshwater sand bar in the world" Minnesota Point, Minnesota, serving the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin from 1858 to 1913. Sadly, Minnesota Point Lighthouse sits in ruins - and is on the Lighthouse Digest's Doomsday List.

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The Minnesota Point Lighthouse as it appeared in ...
Photo by: Randy C. Hemstand

My wife and I have long had a love for these majestic sentinels of America. We have enjoyed and traveled to lighthouses all across America for many years. We were very disheartened this summer while traveling through Wisconsin and Michigan to learn of the loss of three more Great Lakes Lighthouses. This experience prompted me to tell readers about another Light soon to be lost forever.

Minnesota Point Lighthouse (1858-1913) sits on the longest freshwater sand bar in the world, and is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Most Lighthouse enthusiasts, as well as most Minnesotans, are unaware of this "eighth" lighthouse in Minnesota. Everyone knows about the beautiful Split Rock Lighthouse, but has failed to realize that our Minnesota Point Lighthouse is there, standing in ruins! We visited Minnesota Point Lighthouse this past summer and were delighted to see it still standing, along with the Duluth USLHS Buoy Depot built in 1906. Both are in ruins, with the light keepers dwelling destroyed in 1904 and the light's top crumbling.

This Minnesota light is easy to find. Travel over the famous Duluth (Minnesota) Harbor Lift Bridge, from the Canal Park area of Duluth. You will go 3.5 miles down Minnesota Point and will park at the airport; public parking is available. There is a dirt road at the end of the airport, which you will walk 1.5 miles to the lighthouse ruins, the Buoy Depot is seen on the trail before you get to the lighthouse. A little further hike down the trail will give you a great view of the Superior Entry Lighthouse on Wisconsin Point. Just a couple of hours of driving along the North Shore of Minnesota will bring you to all of Minnesota's eight lighthouses. If you're traveling in Minnesota to see lighthouses, don't forget to search for the Minnesota Point Lighthouse - it might not be there for much longer!

This story appeared in the January 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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