The Wisconsin Cana Island Lighthouse is located in Door County, Wisconsin. The lighthouse was built in 1869 on a small rocky island just a few miles north of Baileys Harbor. It runs along the shoreline of beautiful Lake Michigan. When it was originally built, a lighthouse keeper managed the place for 75 years. In 1944 the United States Coast Guard took over and implemented an automated system. In 1976, the Cana Island Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
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Nowadays, the lighthouse is owned by Door County. There is a museum and gift shop inside. The keeper’s pantry and the keeper’s kitchen are still in tact and available for touring. The keeper’s living room and the keeper’s parlor have been converted into a lighthouse gift shop. The keeper’s old office contains pictures and historical audio. Upstairs there is a history room with more pictures, reading material, and some interesting videos for viewing. The trails around the island are made of mulch and fairly smooth to walk on. It is a great opportunity for picture taking, as the views around the lighthouse are fantastic.
The tower itself is approximately 90 feet tall and takes 97 steps up a spiral staircase to reach the watch room at the top. It is definitely worth the trek as the view of Lake Michigan is breathtaking. At the top, the lighthouse implements a prism to shine a 250 watt light bulb fifteen to eighteen miles out.
There is a display within the museum that will show how the prism works. However, since it is still an active lighthouse today, tours to the top are only available on rare occasions. Every third weekend in May, Door County holds the Annual Door County Lighthouse Walk. This is the one weekend per year the lighthouse is open for touring.
Wisconsin Cana Island Lighthouse is open from May to October of every year. The operating hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Cana Island Lighthouse holds a great opportunity to take in some history and catch some spectacular scenery. Everyone should visit it at least once.