Scenic USA - Illinois

Grosse Point Lighthouse

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Grosse Point Light - Evanston, Illinois

Photo by Amanda Haddox
Amanda Haddox Photography
Inset photos by Donald J. Terras

   One of eight Great Lakes lighthouses designed by Lantern Room - Grosse Point Light, Evanston, Illinois Colonel Orlando Metcalf Poe, the Grosse Point tower exhibits Poe's classic lighthouse style. This historic lighthouse, built of brick and now covered in stucco, is constructed with a double wall that includes an insulating air space between the brick layers. Resting on a mass of wooden pilings sunk 30 feet deep, the tower tapers from a 22 foot circumference at the base, to 13 feet at the lantern room interface. Completed in 1874 at the start of a Great Lakes shipping season, the Grosse Point Lighthouse remained in service until 1941.
   Located in Evanston, the lighthouse marked a key point on a shipping channel in Lake Michigan and signaled the approach to the Chicago River. Lurking below the surface, Spiral Staircase - Grosse Point Light, Evanston, Illinois dangerous shoals off Grosse Point were a constant threat to shipping traffic.
   Today, the light-station site is surrounded by Evanston's Lighthouse Park. Beautified by the Garden Club, the centerpiece of the park continues to cast its brilliant beam over Lake Michigan and was honored with a National Historic Landmark designation in 1999. The light-station still operates as a secondary aid to navigation for local boating traffic powered by a second order Fresnel lens. The historic lens was manufactured in Paris, and is the largest on the Great Lakes that has remained in service. At the intersection of Central Street and Sheridan Road, visitors will find the grounds around the lighthouse open daily. During the summer months, June through September, the lighthouse and keeper's quarters are part of museum tours on most weekend afternoons. The 133 foot tall lighthouse remains as one of the city's most cherished landmarks.

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