Great Wisconsin Summer Destinations

Lighthouses offer great view, perspective on history

CREATED Jun 4, 2013

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  • North Point Lighthouse | Photo: Northpoint Lighthouse Friends

MILWAUKEE - The shipping industry and Wisconsin go hand in hand, and where there are ships, there are lighthouses.

The towers dot the Wisconsin shoreline, including the Milwaukee area, where North Point Lighthouse marks what was once the northernmost point on the Lake Michigan shoreline.

"We were certainly, at that point, the north point on Lake Michigan on this side," said Operations Manager May Klish.

North Point Lighthouse was also home to Georgia Stebbins, who was once one of a very small group of female lighthouse keepers.

"She kept the lighthouse from 1870 until she retired in 1907," said KIish.

Farther up the shore in Port Washington, two historic lighthouses keep watch over Lake Michigan.

One, built in the 1860's, was actually de-commissioned in the early 20th century, but was re-lit almost 100 years later.

"I believe it was 2007 when we dedicated the light once again," said Kathie Gordon, Assistant Director of Tours and Marketing for the lighthouse.

Visitors to that lighthouse are encouraged to climb the tower and learn about the history of commercial fishing in Port Washington.

In the actual port of Port Washington, a second lighthouse sits at the end of the breakwater, but Gordon said it's actually in danger of being shut down.

"It just is a symbol of Port Washington and it would be a shame if it was no longer taken care of. That would mean someone would have to adopt it."

The breakwater light house isn't open for tours, but visitors can walk around the outside and take a look at Port Washington's beautiful shoreline.