Scenic USA - Minnesota

Split Rock Lighthouse

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Split Rock Lighthouse - Split Rock Lighthouse Historic Site, Two Harbors, Minnesota

Photo by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website
Inset Photo by Merrill Miller

     The Split Rock Lighthouse, Lighthouse and Fog Horns - Split Rock Lighthouse Historic Site, Two Harbors, Minnesota with contrasting Cream City brick and a black lantern room, is one of the most popular stops along Minnesota's 150 mile North Shore Drive. Route 61, bordering Lake Superior, is loaded with scenic wonders from Duluth to the Canadian border. But it's the lighthouse that attracts over 120,000 visitors each summer. The beacon, completed in 1910, is perched atop the 130 foot Stony Point cliff. It was the Lighthouse Commission that provided 15,000 dollars for construction, and it remains unclear why they named the light station after the Split Rock River. Perhaps it may have been the only nearby feature that had a name at the time in this rugged wilderness land.
     Even without overland access, the lighthouse construction went extremely well. The beautiful Cream City brick tower was completed in just two years, topped off with a beautifully designed Parisian lens which projected its beam for 22 miles out into Lake Superior. Experiencing plenty of fog, a gasoline powered, compressed air driven diaphone fog signal could be heard for five miles on the lake. The light keeper's isolation ended in 1924 with completion of Route 61. Just eight years later, after the highway was completed, the North Shore lighthouse hosted 30,000 visitors during the summer season.

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