Raspberry Island Lighthouse

Oct. 8, 2019

Raspberry Island Lighthouse, Raspberry Island, west channel of the Apostle Islands, Lake Superior, Bayfield County, Wisconsin

Built in 1862.


Station Established: 1863
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1863
Operational? NO
Automated? YES 1947
Deactivated: 1957
Foundation Materials: STONE
Construction Materials: WOOD
Tower Shape: SQUARE
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL
Original Lens: FIFTH ORDER, FRESNEL 1863


  • In 1859 Congress appropriated money for this light. Construction was completed in 1863 and the light was first lit.
  • In 1869 a dock and stairs were installed up the cliff to the light.
  • In 1890 the boat house stairs needed to be replaced.
  • In 1902 a steam fog signal was installed along with a tramway to make off-loading supplies easier.
  • In 1928 a diesel engine was installed to operate electric generators.
  • In 1933 the fog signal was upgraded.
  • In 1947 the light was automated.
  • In 1952 the fog signal was discontinued and the Fresnel lens was replaced by a battery operated beacon mounted on a pole in front of the lighthouse.
  • In 1957 the light was deactivated.
  • The Park Service now looks after the building and grounds while the Coast Guard looks after the pole top beacon.
  • In 1975 Raspberry Island Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • For a period of time volunteer keepers lived at the light and gave tours to the public during certain times of the year. The house has been converted to a museum.
  • In 2000 the light was added to the Lighthouse Digests Doomsday list because erosion threatened the structure.
  • In 2002 the Park Service installed a seawall and a vegetative crib wall to stem the erosion. The work was completed in 2003.
  • In 2006 extensive restoration work on the light station was performed for public tours beginning in 2007.
  • The original Fresnel lens is on display at the Wisconsin State Historical Society Museum.

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