Racine Reef Light

Oct. 8, 2019

Racine Reef Light, Lake Michigan, east of Racine, Wisconsin

Built in 1899, replaced in 1961 with a skeletal tower.


RACINE REEF, Lake Michigan
Station Established: 1899
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1961
Operational? Yes
Automated? Yes 1954
Deactivated: 1961
Foundation Materials: Brick and concrete
Construction Materials: brick and concrete\ current - steel
Tower Shape: square
Relationship to Other Structure: integral
Original Lens: Fourth Order


  • Racine Reef Light was built in 1899 to warn of the Racine Reef when it was found the Wind Point light did not fully serve this purpose. Too many ships continued to sink here. This first was an unmanned light that was serviced by the Racine Harbor Keeper.
  • This light proved inadequate so congress approved money for a better lighthouse in 1903.
  • This new light was first lit in 1906 and contained a fourth order Fresnel lens. The old light was moved to the outer breakwater in Chicago.
  • The light was automated in 1954.
  • In 1961 the light was deemed obsolete and demolished and a skeletal tower was erected on the concrete pier. 
  • The lens was moved to the Racine County Historical Museum.

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