One of the Keweenaw's most iconic landmarks, the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse is a piece of living history.
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So once you’ve snapped the selfies, spend a little time learning about its storied past.
With profits from the copper boom threatened by the violent temper of Lake Superior, Eagle Harbor mine owners collaborated with Congress to build the lighthouse between two fearsome rock formations that made entrance to the harbor a perilous endeavor. The beautiful red brick building you see today is actually from a 1871 makeover—the original, built in 1851, was made of wood.
For nearly a century, this lighthouse beamed safe guidance from a fourth-order Fresnel glass lens encased in cast iron.
While the historic lens was replaced in the 1960s, the light is still in active use today by the U.S. Coast Guard. As a result, the lighthouse tower is not open to visitors.
Instead, you can find shipwreck stories at the Maritime Museum in the old fog signal building, copper mining memorabilia at the Keweenaw History Museum in the former U. S. Coast Guard Station garage, and a Commercial Fishing Museum located in one of the assistant keepers'” “buildings.
Fresh Coast Tip
The lighthouse grounds are free and open to the public; passes to tour the historic buildings are available for a $5 fee.
If conventional history lessons aren’t your thing, ask the museum docent about the lighthouse ghosts.
As late as 1975, lightkeepers and visitors alike reported eerie occurrences in the light tower and its surrounding buildings, such as dragging footsteps, lights going on and off, disembodied voices, and even sightings of a faceless man in a plaid flannel shirt.
Photo: Amanda Taivalkoski / @amandeliini