Raspberry Island Lighthouse, the "Showplace of the Apostle Islands" was built at the urging of Henry Rice, the influential St. Paul politician who founded the city of Bayfield. A light on Raspberry Island would help mark the approach to the new port. Support from shipping interests added weight to Rice's proposal, and in 1859 President Buchanan signed an order reserving the entire island for lighthouse use. Construction of the lighthouse began about two years later, and the structure was nearly ready for use by the end of 1862. It was not until mid-July of 1863 that the French-made lens was installed and the light station officially began operation. The lighthouse that entered service during the Civil War appeared substantially different from the structure that stands on Raspberry Island today. As originally built, the Raspberry lighthouse was a boxy, two-bedroom house with a shed at one side containing the kitchen. Rising from the center of the roof was a short tower that supported the lantern. In 1903, the current fog signal building was constructed. The new lighthouse was occupied until 1947, when the light was converted to automatic operation. The lens remained in the tower until 1957, when the Coast Guard replaced it with a battery-operated beacon mounted on a pole in front of the lighthouse. Today, visitors can see the original Raspberry Island lens on display at the Wisconsin State Historical Society Museum on Madeline Island.
Directions: From Bayfield, WI, Excursion boats and private watercraft provide access to Apostle Islands. Apostle Islands Cruise Service, 1-800-323-7619.
Distance: 0.7 miles
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Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin
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