The historic North Point Lighthouse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is scheduled to be open for tours this fall of 2006. The old girl has never looked better, as many hours of toil have been put into her renovation.
Anytime I'm on the road, if there is a lighthouse anywhere in the vicinity, this will get a visit. I'm from NC originally, but it wasn't Cape Hatteras that hooked me. I really fell for the Marblehead Lighthouse in Ohio, right on the shores of Lake Erie.
According to an article in the Chicago Tribune Travel Feature section, its cast iron and steel parts have been sandblasted and repainted. Many of the original brass parts have been restored and put back in place.
The lighthouse is the focal point of the Frederick Law Olmsted designed, 136 acre, Lake Park. Many regard this as the top park in Milwaukee. It is also noted for its lion bridges. Of course, Olmsted was the architect of New York City's Central Park. Milwaukee also features three others by him: West Park, Riverside Park, and Washington Park.
The present North Point Lighthouse dates back to 1888 when a new one was built to replace the original 1855 structure that stood 28 feet high on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. It was decided to move it farther back in 1888 when a 100 foot portion of the land in front of it fell into the lake.
This new one was 39 feet tall, but the light was turned out from 1907-1912 when surrounding trees blocked the light. In 1912, a 35 foot steel structure was completed and the old tower put on top of it.
In 1994, it was taken out of service. From then on, it was allowed to decay until the North Point Lighthouse Friends were formed. It is their efforts that have saved this landmark and they are to be congratulated. There will be a gallery to visit as well.
You can visit their site at www.northpointlighthouse.org/
The next time you're in Milwaukee, stop by. I also plan to visit the Olmsted parks. He is to public green space as Frank Lloyd Wright is to building architecture.
Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway and We'll Leave the Light On. RoadDog