North Point Lighthouse

Sept. 24, 2019

North Point Lighthouse, Lake Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Originally built in 1855, current structure built in 1888.


Station Established: 1855
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1888
Operational? No
Automated? YES 1943
Deactivated: N/A 1994
Foundation Materials: CONCRETE
Construction Materials: CAST IRON (1888)/STEEL (1912)
Tower Shape: OCTAGONAL
Markings/Pattern: WHITE WITH RED ROOF
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 1888


  • In 1837 money was appropriated for a light to make the entrance to Milwaukee River. There were several delays due to controversy over both the location and getting the lantern and the lens. The light was finally lit in late 1838.
  • In 1852 Congress approved funds for a new light at North Point that would replace the 1837 light that was thought to be in a poor location.
  • In 1855 the original light was discontinued because the North Point light was built and the old light on the bluff overlooking the bay was torn down.
  • In 1868 the lantern room was rebuilt. The lens was replaced with the same order.
  • 1887 another new tower was built when erosion of the bluff in front of the 1855 tower threatened the structure. The gallery, lantern and lens from the previous light were used in the new tower. This new tower was first lit in 1888.
  • In 1892 a park was established around the light station and over time trees began to obscure the light. As the city grew, lights from there also diminished the lights effectiveness.
  • By 1907 the light was deemed ineffective and was decommissioned. There were objections by both mariners and city officials in Milwaukee. The light was re-lit as a private aide to navigation until its re-lighting was approved by Congress.
  • In 1909 money was appropriated to raise the tower’s height. The work was finished in 1912. While this work was done the light was housed in a temporary tower.
  • In 1929 the light was electrified.
  • In 1943 the light was automated.
  • In 1966 power was run to the breakwater light that was automated.
  • In 1980 the lighthouse and keepers’ house were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • In 1994 the light was discontinued and the lens was removed.
  • In 2002 the North Point Lighthouse Friends group was formed to work on preservation and restoration of the light station.
  • 2003 the light was transferred to Milwaukee County.
  • In 2004 the North Point Lighthouse Friends group was awarded a long term lease of the structure.
  • In 2006 restoration of the tower was completed.
  • In 2007 restoration of the keeper’s house was begun.

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