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Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light

July 9, 2019
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Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light, Wisconsin

ASHLAND HARBOR BREAKWATER LIGHT

Location: CHEQUAMEGON BAY/LAKE SUPERIOR
Station Established: 1911
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1915
Operational? YES
Automated? YES
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE PIER ON CRIB
Construction Materials: REINFORCED CONCRETE/STEEL
Tower Shape: CYLINDRICAL. WATCHROOM ON HEX. PYRAMIDAL. TOWER
Markings/Pattern: WHITE W/BLACK LANTERN
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL

Range: 9 Miles

Characteristic: White flashing 6 sec.

 

HISTORICAL INFORMATION:

  • In 1889 thru 1912 the army corps of engineers built two large parallel breakwaters in Chequamegon Bay in order to protect the harbor at Ashland where exports of iron ore had begun. This was the only protection against the violent storms that could frequent the area. The breakwaters served their purpose but they also made it difficult for ships to find the entrance to the harbor. As a temporary measure a 10 foot pole was erected on the west end of the breakwater and a fixed red lantern was hung from it.
  • In 1913, once the breakwater was completed, congress appropriated money for a pier light.
  • A concrete and steel tower was built and in 1915 a fourth order Fresnel was installed and lit.
  • In 1916 a keeper’s house was built on shore and the keeper moved out of the light.
  • In 1980 the light was listed on Wisconsin’s Register of Historic Sites and the Coast Guard removed the Fresnel lens and replaced it with a solar-powered acrylic optic.

Researched and written by Anne Puppa, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.