Island Range Lights
The Plum Island Range Lights guide vessels into Green Bay from Lake Michigan, through Porte des Morts (Deaths Door Passage). Plum Island was the site of the original (1848) Porte des Morts light, but the light was moved to Pilot Island in 1858. Portions of the foundation of the 1848 lighthouse can be found in the wooded area of the island.
Plum Island remained empty until 1896, when a United States Life Saving Service station was built on the island. The U.S. Life Saving Service station remains and was used until recently as a summer only U.S. Coast Guard station. The Coast Guard has now moved to nearby Washington Island.
The Plum Island Range Lights were installed in 1897. One and one-half acres of dense forest were cut to make room for the light towers, keepers dwelling and fog signal building. In addition, a boathouse, storage building and tramway were also built.
The Rear Light is a white steel tower with a central cylinder surrounded by metal supports stretching from beneath the first walkway to the ground. Atop the cylinder, a larger circular watch room is surrounded by a walkway. Above the watch room, the slightly smaller lantern room protects the still working light. The light-brown brick 2-story keeper's dwelling, with a dark red shingle roof, is near the base of the tower, and is rapidly deteriorating. The light is 80-feet above water level and shines through a fixed Fourth Order Fresnel lens.
A wide path cleared through the thick forest leads 1600 feet to the present (1964) Front Range Light, a small white skeleton tower, with an orange and white day mark, nearly touching the beach on the southeast shore of the island. A small beam of red light shines from the top of the tower. The original front light was a Sixth Order fixed red light that shown through a single window in the front of a small, white, two-story wooden tower. The tower had a square base and octagonal second story like the front range light at Bailey's Harbor.
Dominating a strip of land on the north side of the building is a lifesaving station. A large dwelling with a watch tower above the roofline. At the water's edge is a boathouse with room for three vessels.
Door County, Wisconsin boasts of having more lighthouses than any other county . The Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society hosts an Annual Lighthouse Walk, on a weekend in May, that offers a chance to visit and tour lighthouses not normally open to the public .
Plum Island can be visited on one weekend per year during the Door County Annual Lighthouse Walk. The visit is by ferry from Gills Rock and also passes by Pilot Island.
11/7 - Door County, WI
- The long battle to save the Plum Island lighthouse took a critical step
forward when ownership of Plum and Pilot islands was transferred from the
U.S. Coast Guard to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Oct. 17.
From the Peninsula Pulse
2008 - Update
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