Historic light stations on Apostle Islands closed for preservation workFour 19th-Century light stations on the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are closed this summer for an ambitious preservation project.
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Four 19th-Century light stations on the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are closed this summer for an ambitious preservation project.
The $4-million projects are in full swing. In all, the Apostle Islands has six light stations with eight towers. Lakeshore Superintendent Bob Krumanaker says the project will not renovate the lighthouses, but it will preserve and stabilize them.
“Even though this is a huge amount of work, this is just a down payment,” he says.
The oldest light station was built in 1856 on Michigan Island. The newest — also on Michigan Island — was erected in 1929. Lakeshore historian Dave Cooper says these buildings represent the lives of hardscrabble keepers.
“It called for a very versatile individual,” says Cooper. “It wasn’t just keeping the light and the lantern. It was all the maintenance duty on station. You had to be a boat handler with the ability to transport yourself to and from the mainland.”
Cooper says the isolation was tough.
“It was the winter of 1874 and they ended up feuding so extensively that the families kept to opposite ends of the same building, trying to avoid each other,” he says.
The work is expected to be finished by winter.