Southport Lighthouse, Kenosha

Southport Lighthouse Station Museum

The Southport Lighthouse, reflecting Kenosha’s original city name, was built in 1866. It stands 55 feet high and is the third lighthouse to stand in that location. In 2010, it opened as a maritime museum on Simmons Island at 50th Street and Lighthouse Drive/4th Avenue. Inside the original Keeper’s House you’ll find artifacts, maps, old pictures, and more information about Kenosha’s harbor, a long-important point for industrial shipping, commercial fishing, and recreation.

The first floor was restored to reflect the era around 1907, including a period kitchen and historic colors. Check out the chart desk, which offers nautical charts and historic harbor maps that go all way back to 1839, when Southport was the name of the town.

Lighthouse fans will love the authentic Fresnel lens on loan from the U.S. Coast Guard; it matches the size lens that once topped the Southport Lighthouse. On the second floor, you’ll find more exhibits about the restoration project, local shipwrecks, the U.S. Coast Guard, and a re-creation of a lighthouse keeper’s bedroom/office.

Parking and museun tours are free; there is a fee to climb the 72 steps to the top of the Southport Lighthouse, $10 for 13 and over and $5 for children 8-12 years old. Children under 8 are now allowed to climb the lighthouse.

Check out a “then and now” video of the Southport Lighthouse and Museum here, produced by the Kenosha Convention & Visitors Bureau:

Southport Light and water tower at Kenosha

The 1866 Southport Ligthouse from the end of Highway 158, overlooking Kenosha Harbor.

The Southport Lighthouse Station Museum and the Kenosha History Center are located on the same grounds on Simmons Island and are operated by the Kenosha County Historical Society.

You can reach Simmons Island just a few blocks east of Highway 32/Sheridan Road via 45th Street or 50th Street. Highway 158/52nd Street brings you within blocks, and Highway 50 comes in about a mile south.

Southport Lighthouse Station Museum Hours:

Open for the season through October 29, 2017. It should re-open for 2018 on or around May 3.
Thursday-Saturday 10am – 4pm
Sunday Noon – 4pm
Note that the operating schedule is weather dependent.

Southport Lighthouse Station Museum Address:

5117 4th Avenue
Kenosha, WI 53140
(262) 654-5770
Website




Wind Point Lighthouse Tour

Wind Point Lighthouse

Wind Point Lighthouse rises 108 feet.Wind Point Lighthouse is one the tallest and oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes. It reaches 108 feet above the wavy waters of Lake Michigan, helping ships navigate the coast since 1880. The original fog house, walkways to the water, and parkland surrounding the lighthouse itself are all accessible year ’round.

Tours of the lighthouse itself are available the first Sunday of the month from June through October on the half-hour from 9am to 3pm. Admission is $10 for adults and kids 12 and up; kids 6-11 are $5; children under 6 are not allowed to climb the lighthouse due to safety concerns.

The Wind Point Lighthouse is accessible via Lighthouse Road or 3 Mile Road, just east of Highway 32 north of Racine. You can also connect nearby from Highways 31 and 38.

Wind Point Lighthouse history

A Capstar, one of many items on the Wind Point Lighthouse grounds.



histmarker-windpointlight

Check out their Video Tour!

Fun facts, courtesy of WindPointLighthouse.org:

  • Orlando Metcalfe Poe designed the lighthouse. He served in the Civil War as a Brigadier General.
  • The Lighthouse’s first lighting occurred on November 15, 1880.
  • The Fog Horn Building shows the original design with the huge fog horns aimed toward the Lake.
  • The fog signals traveled 10 miles out into Lake Michigan.
  • The Fresnel Lens used dozens of glass prisms to bend and focus the light which made for an immensely powerful light. The original lens is on loan from the Racine Heritage Museum. You can see it in the old Coast Guard Keepers Quarters, which now serves as the Village Hall for the Village of Wind Point.
  • A mechanism of weights, cables and pulleys rotated the enormous Fresnel Lens to create the flashing that navigators on the Lake recognized.
  • Fuel for the light had to be carried up the 144 iron steps and the Keeper or his Assistants had to make that climb daily. About 270 gallons were used in 1881.
  • The Keeper or his Assistants had to clean the Lens every day so that it sparkled.
  • 7 Head Keepers and more than 30 Assistant Keepers worked the Wind Point Lighthouse from 1880 – 1964 when the light was automated.
  • In 1997, the U.S. Coast Guard transferred the Lighthouse to the Village of Wind Point, though they continue responsibility of the light itself.

Wind Point Lighthouse Address:

4725 Lighthouse Drive
Wind Point, WI 53402
(262) 639-3777
Website




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Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village Lighthouse

Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village


Anchoring Two Rivers’ historic district, Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village showcases the long and colorful history of Two Rivers’ commercial fishing industry – the longest such history of any city on the Great Lakes. Calling commercial fishing “America’s most dangerous profession,” this complex offers an incredible look at the 175+ years of history, techniques, boats, and even shipwrecks (hence the “dangerous”) while offering the chance to climb the North Pier Lighthouse, built in 1886.

Statue at Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village

Rogers Street Fishing Village features a museum, the original 1936 tugboat Buddy O that you can climb on and explore, a French-Canadian-style fisherman’s home, original 19th century engines, boardwalks and plenty of artifacts.

Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village Boardwalk

Speaking of shipwrecks, the waters in Lake Michigan just off Two Rivers have had their share and you can see actual remnants of ships like the Vernon (which sank in 1887) and the Rouse Simmons (which sank in 1912) that were recovered and are now on display… right down to gauges from the ship and photos of the deceased – it gets real. Native American murals and artifacts also explore the era prior to European arrival in the area.

Rogers Street Fishing Village, recovered Windlass off the Francis Hinton ship

The Francis Hinton sank in 1909; you can see the windlass recovered from the steamer, among other amazing pieces from sunken ships, inside the Rogers Street Fishing Village Museum.

You’ll find Rogers Street Fishing Village just off Highway 42 in Two Rivers, near the endpoints of Highways 147 and 310, bordering the East Twin River. The museum is open from mid-May through mid-October.

Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village Address:

2102 Jackson Street
Two Rivers, WI 54241
(920) 793-5905
Website