|Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse
|Seeing The Light
With the the construction of the piers and dredging of the river at Kewaunee in 1892, a pair of range lights were installed on the pier in 1891. In the standard Lake Michigan pier light manner, access to these two lights was provided by an elevated catwalk. Equipped with Fifth Order Fresnel lenses, the lights were designed to be visible for a distance of fifteen miles.
Frequently subjected to thick blankets of fog, a diaphone fog signal horn was installed in the front range light in 1909. Also at this time, a large fog signal building was constructed immediately behind the front range light to contain the steam power plant for the fog signal, and to provide housing for the keepers when long periods of fog required their constant presence. This structure was connected to the front range light by way of an enclosed walkway, as can be seen in the historical Coast Guard photograph to the right.
The front range light was removed from the pier in 1931, when a new tower with a forty-five foot focal plane was constructed on the roof of the fog signal building, and the old lantern room and lens moved onto the new tower. As can be seen from the image to the left, the catwalk was still in place for some period of time after the construction of the new fog signal, however it has been removed at some time over the years
Though it is now illuminated by an automated electric four-bulb changer, the old Fifth Order Fresnel still displays its' fixed white light from this new tower. The diaphone fog signal originally installed here at Kewaunee was removed from the tower, and slated for shipment to the Smithsonian institute, when Duluth's TOOT organization learned of its fate and managed to convince the authorities to divert the unit to Duluth, where it was rebuilt by Jeff Laser and installed it in the South Breakwater Light, where it proudly works its magic in thick weather to this day.
In retrospect, Kewaunee's aspirations
to rival Chicago were short-lived. With it's improved rail connections,
Manitowoc assumed pre-eminence as Wisconsin's major northern port, and
Kewaunee itself deteriorated from it intended brilliance.
This page last modified 12/02/2007