Scenic USA - Wisconsin
Cana Island Lighthouse
|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website
Wisconsin's Door County, located on a sizable peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan from the Green Bay area, is well known for a dozen historic lighthouses. Marking many intricate points up and down the coastline, both land and water tours offer close up views and access to some of these light stations. Nearly half of the lighthouses are located on islands, with the Cana Island Lighthouse being the most popular.
The Cana Island Lighthouse was built of cream-city brick on a stone foundation in 1869. The 79 foot tower quickly deteriorated in the harsh coastal climate and was quickly strengthened with steel cladding. Overlooking the northern approach to Baileys Harbor, it remains an active light-station and the lantern room still utilizes the original third-order French lens.
Today, the light-station grounds are maintained by Door County Maritime Museum volunteers who are taking on the ambitious plan of preservation. No one is quite sure how a causeway was developed to the island, but it provides visitors a dry pathway to tour the lighthouse and grounds most of the year. Occasionally, the causeway, which is very rocky, is submerged, and guests must wade out to the lighthouse. The keeper's quarters gives a good idea of how a 19th century light-station would appear, decorated in period furnishings. Just east of the lighthouse, visitors will notice a well built, ornate sea wall that encircles the end of the island. Erected by light-keeper Oscar R. Knudsen, the wall helps deflect some of Lake Michigan's strongest waves.
The Cana Island Lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and owes a great deal to the efforts of volunteers. Between 1977 and 1995, much of the restoration and maintenance was completed by summer caretakers Rosie and Louie Janda. Although it's not a casual stroll to the lighthouse, this beautiful little island and lighthouse are well worth the ten minute walk.
More Door County Lighthouses
Scenic USA Prints from Fine Art America
Copyright © 2011-16 Benjamin Prepelka
All Rights Reserved