The Minnesota Two Harbors Lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in the USA and it was built overlooking Lake Superior’s Agate Bay. The extremely pretty red brick lighthouse building is open for visitors and it is still listed on the Light list as active and maintained by the Coast Guard.
In the early 20th century, ships on Lake Superior started to ship iron ore shipments on the river. This resulted in increasing traffic on the river and the demand for a good lighthouse on the North Shore of the river increased. However, the lighthouse was not built till a huge storm on November 28th, 1905, damaged more than 29 ships and their cargo. All of the ships belonged to one steel company’s fleet and two of the ships foundered on the North Shore of the river partially losing their cargo on the shore.
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The steel company then contacted Congress in Washington DC and requested the formation of a lighthouse which resulted in the formation of the Minnesota Two Harbors Lighthouse for about $75,000. Construction on the lighthouse started in 1891 and the lighthouse was completed in 1892. However, the beautiful location of the lighthouse made it a frequent visiting spot for tourists. In fact, the lighthouse was referred to as the most visited lighthouse in the US during that time.
They then constructed a 7.6 acre service next to the lighthouse and operated it until 1910. By the year, 1969, modern navigational equipment had made the lighthouse obsolete and it was shut down. The State of Minnesota acquired the historic landmark and now operates a very beautiful Split Rock Lighthouse State Park which includes 2,200 acres next to the lighthouse. Visitors can now see the operation and the interior of the lighthouse. The lighthouse has its own museum, store, and a dining center. Guided tours are also available to look over the keeper’s house and to visit the interior of the lighthouse.
A quarter mile hike along the bottom of the cliff is also available and you will be able to picnic, hike or camp in the State Park. The lighthouse is so popular that it has also been converted into models and sculptures. The most popular folk art representation is probably by local artist Jim Shore. His model of the Two Harbors Lighthouse captures it on a base of rock and water and has a workable light inside of it. Take a look at the official website or online to see what it looks like.