Wind Point Lighthouse Seeing The Light

Racine, Wisconsin Home Back

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Historical Information

With $100,000 appropriated by Congress for construction, work at Wind Point was completed in 1880.

The 108 foot tower is attached to the keepers dwelling by means of a covered passageway, similar to other Great Lakes lights designed by the influential Orlando M. Poe. The dwelling was home to the Head Keeper and two assistants and their families. Within the tower, 144 cast iron steps, each individually anchored to the walls and supported by a central column, spiral to the lantern room.

In 1900, to aid navigation during periods of low visibility, a fog signal was added. Steam powered, this signal could be heard from a distance of 40 miles out in the lake.

Originally outfitted with a kerosene-fired Third Order Fresnel lens, the station was the second of all Great Lakes lights to be electrified in 1924

The electrified Fresnel lens was replaced with a DCB-24 Aerobeacon in 1964, with an output of 2,000,000 candle power. With the station's towering 110 foot focal plane, the light is visible for a distance of nineteen miles. Also at this time, the fog signal was also dismantled and removed. The Fresnel lens became the property of the Racine Historical Museum, but is displayed in the caretakers dwelling on the station property.

Since 1964, the village of Wind Point has leased the buildings and grounds from the Coast Guard, with the buildings used as offices. Spotlights illuminating the tower were installed in 1975, and though the lighthouse interior is not open to the public, the grounds are open during normal business hours, and thus one can obtain a close-up view of the station.

Keepers of this Light

Click Here to see a complete listing of all Wind Point Light keepers compiled by Phyllis L. Tag of Great Lakes Lighthouse Research.

Seeing this Light

The sun had only been up for approximately an hour when we arrived at wind point, and our first view of the light was from across the neighboring golf course, which was thick with dew and a misty haze. The familiar arched windows, corbel-supported gallery and tall watch room of the Poe-designed tower exudes grace and symmetry.

As we walked the property, we were pleasantly surprised to find the twin horns of the diaphone fog signal protruding from their original location in the signal building, making this one of the scant few lights we have visited with the horns still in place. One can only wonder if the rest of the apparatus is still in the building. Since the signal building windows were all boarded-over, we were unable to see inside to find out.

The caretaker at this station obviously takes great pride in his work, since the station features a beautiful flower bed in front of the entrance, with a small pool and waterfall it's centerpiece. Unfortunately, we were at the light early in the morning, and we were unable to find the caretaker and ask if we could view the station's Third Order lens, which is supposedly displayed in the building.

After photographing the light, we talk a short, but pleasant stroll along the beach. Unfortunately, our tight schedule would not allow us to stay as long as we would have liked. This is definitely a station that we plan to revisit!

Finding this Light

Located on Lighthouse Drive, between Three Mile Rd. and Four Mile Rd. Racine. The lighthouse hall and grounds are available for rental, and membership in the Friends of the Wind Point Lighthouse are available for $25.00 for an adult and $100.00 for a family.

Contact information

Friends of the Wind Point Lighthouse
5227 Wind Point rd.
Racine, WI. 53402

Reference Sources

Inventory of Historic Light Stations, National Parks Service, 1994 
USCG Historians office, Photographic archives.
Personal observation at Wind Point, 09/09/2000.
Photographs from author's personal collection.
Racine County Online, Wind Point Lighthouse, website
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 07/11/1999
Lighthouse Consultants, Lighthouses nearby, Wind Point page, website 
Keeper listings for this light appear courtesy of Great Lakes Lighthouse Research

Click to view Racine weather conditions

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This page last modified 09/19/2005