Located on Lake Michigan in Kenosha (formerly called Southport), Wisconsin, on a hill slightly upriver from the lake, in Simmons Island Park.
Built 1848, the 40-foot gray brick tower was totally re-built in 1866. The detached. L-shaped, two-story tan brick keepers dwelling survives from 1848. The tower held a Fourth Order Fresnel Lens
The light became obsolete when the Kenosha North Pier Light was established in 1906, and was decommissioned at that time but the keeper continued to live in dwelling. A storm warning tower was secured to the tower in 1913 and used until 1953.
The tower is undergoing restoration as a joint venture by the City of Kenosha and the Kenosha History Center. Exterior restoration is scheduled to start in the spring of 2005. The project will include rebuilding the porches to resemble 1908, replacing all rotted/missing exterior woodwork, replacing crumbling limestone sills, lintels, replacing damaged brick, tuck pointing and making the rear entrance conform to handicapped access standards. The existing aluminum storm windows will be replaced with custom built storms and two entrance doors will be replaced. The new windows and doors will resemble those of 1908.
Interior restoration will begin in 2006 and the dwelling will be closed while this work is in progress. The project will include restoration of lath and plaster, restoring woodwork, refinishing wood floors and having custom windows built to resemble lighted windows that were in the house in 1908.
Plans are to have to dwelling re-opened to visitors by the summer of 2007. The rooms will be used to display Kenosha's maritime history, and telling the stories of the lights at Kenosha and the keepers who tended them. The lighthouse is adjacent to the Kenosha History Center and will serve as a third gallery for the museum. A request has been sent to the Coast Guard to donate the Fourth Order lens that is on display at the USCG Station Kenosha.
The station is on the National Register as a historic site. The original cupola and lantern were removed in 1959. They were replaced by a replica in 1994.
Visitors can view the lighthouse from the street. Cross the bridge to Simmons Island on 50th Street in Kenosha. The North Pier Light is located on the pier below this light. You can keep track of the restoration progress at the Center's web site at www.kenoshahistorycenter.org.
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