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Wisconsin Lighthouses

Safety Beacons on the Great Lakes

Pierhead Lighthouse in Algoma


Port Washington

The Great Lakes became a thriving shipping thoroughfare for passengers and cargo after the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825. Sailors soon found that the Great Lakes could be as hard to navigate as the oceans. Unmarked shipping lanes on shallow shoals and reefs caused a number of ill-fated shipwrecks. As a result, the government built lighthouses to guide the way. For more than 100 years, Wisconsin lighthouses have served as a symbol of safe harbor, guiding navigators safely through our Great Lakes.

doorcounty1 Photo Today, more than thirty of these historical buildings remain standing, providing visitors a unique opportunity to explore Wisconsin’s nautical past and the romance associated with the lonely vigils of its keepers. Most of the harbor towns in this guide have lighthouses, many of which date back to the 1800s. With 250 miles of treacherous shoreline, Wisconsin’s Door County is home to ten lighthouses, more than any other county in the United States. All along Wisconsin’s coasts, many lighthouse grounds are open to the public and several lighthouses offer tours.

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse in Door County


Sturgeon Bay’s Red Lighthouse

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