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Lighthouses of Door County, Wisconsin

Updated on November 2, 2014

One Trip-Seven Lights

Door County is on a peninsula that juts out of the northeastern section of Wisconsin. One hot sticky August in St. Louis we decided to escape the heat and headed north. When we entered Door Country we were met with pleasant temperatures, some wonderful country scenes, and to my delight several lighthouses on the Lake Michigan coast.

Our first encounter started the very first night when we stopped in the small town of Port Washington and found they had two lighthouses and continued all the way up into Door County where we discovered the Plum Island lighthouse while we were on a ferry ride to Washington Island.

Along the way we explored both coasts of Door County and I was able to photograph a total of seven lighthouses during our week long stay. This lens will give you some information and photos on each of these lighthouses and will include links for you to find more information. Enjoy your reading!

Photographs by Mary Beth Granger

Port Washington

the lighthouse and the pierhead light still stand today

Port Washington was a wonderful small town that we stayed in on our way to Door County. I was really excited to find that they had two lights.

The old lighthouse up on the hill and a newer one in the Port. Both were very interesting.The lighthouse on the hill was originally built in 1849 and was used until the early 1900's.

The first pierhead lighthouse was built in 1889 and the current pierhead was automated in 1924. It is very different from other lighthouses I had visited. It is an art-deco design as you can see in the photo in to the right. It has a long pier that you can use to walk right up to the lighthouse and it seemed like there were always people around the lighthouse. I got up at sunrise to try to get a clear photo and there were already people fishing off the pier right at the lighthouse. I really enjoyed photographing this unique lighthouse.

Algoma Lighthouse

As we continued on our journey to Door County we stopped at another small town, Algoma, Wisconsin. In Algoma we found a pierhead lighthouse located at the entrance to the Ahnapee River. It appeared smaller than the one in Port Washington and the Algoma Pierhead light was painted a bright red. The sun was a bit bright for a good photo but you can get the idea at the photo to the right. There are more photos in the link later in this lens.

Learn about these Historic Beacons

Enjoy reading these books to find additional information on Door County lighthouses. I always like to read about the places I will visit before my trip. I think it really adds to my appreciation of the lighthouses when I know the stories behind them.

Lighthouses of Wisconsin: A Guidebook and Keepsake (Lighthouse Series)
Lighthouses of Wisconsin: A Guidebook and Keepsake (Lighthouse Series)

This is a comprehensive guidebook of Wisconsin lighthouses.

Lighthouses & Range Lights of Door County, Wisconsin
Lighthouses & Range Lights of Door County, Wisconsin

Here you will find information specific to Door County lights.


Sturgeon Bay

Pierhead Light

In Sturgeon Bay we found a bright red square looking pierheadlight that marked the entrance to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. It has an elevated catwalk on the pier that links it to the shore. This light was originally constructed in 1881.

Cana Island

My visit to the Cana Island lighthouse was one of the highlights of my visit to Door County. This lighthouse is just north of Baileys Harbor and sits on an Island. You can reach the Island by walking over a rock path that stretches between the mainland and the Island. When reaching the lighthouse I discovered a charming historic lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1869 and consisted of a 42 foot tower and an adjoining keepers house. In 1902 the original cream brick tower was encased in steel to protect in from the weather. Today you can visit the lighthouse and climb the historic tower.

Eagle Bluff

I found the lighthouse at Eagle Bluff to be a charming historic lighthouse. It was built in 1868. The lighthouse can be found in Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek, WI. It has a red brick keepers house with a square looking light tower attached. The light is still in operation today guiding vessels through the narrow Strawberry channel.

Bailey's Harbor

Range Lights

I had read that there were a set of range lights on the west shore in Bailey's Harbor but I was unsure where they were located. During a hike in the Ridges Sanctuary I came across both of the lights. The rear range light consists of a keepers dwelling and the rear light. You can see the photo I took of it to the right. The front range light was constructed 900 feet away toward the shore. I found both of these very different than any I had seen before. These lights were established in 1870. The lights were automated in 1930 and from then until they were discontinued in the 1960's the lights were cared for by Lutheran ministers, who used the keepers dwelling as a parsonage.

Plum Island Light

On our ferry ride to Washington Island I was able to photograph the lighthouse on Plum Island. It consists of a white tower and a separate keepers house. Plum Island is located off the northern tip of the Door Peninsula.

This is not the best photo because I was taking it from a distance on a moving boat, but I do think it gives you an idea of the light station. I would think that it would be rather lonesome working at this remote light station.

Take a high level tour of Door County!

This video gives you an unique view of Door County.

Door County

Have you been to Door County?

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    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 3 years ago

      I've never been there - and honestly would not have thought of Wisconsin as a place for lighthouses, but it makes sense since those "lakes" are more like oceans! I think my favorite place is New Zealand, and I really want to get back there. :)

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      Never been there. Favorite place? Other than home in New York City, San Francisco, the most beautiful city in the U.s>

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      This lens give me a deep meaning and a new dimension of your niche. It is an excellent example of how much we can stretch a niche. Sent Angel Blessings on your way.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The beauty of the County was lost to me because my focus was on Genealogy. Hopefully, I can one day return and enjoy every bend in the roads. Thank you all. You know who you are. Philip

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Thanks for sharing more lighthouses. I long to be able to travel more of the States and see more of our lighthouses.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Another lovely lighthouse tour by you. Thank you for sharing. This may be the closest I get to Door County.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      Great lens on the Door County lights. My long wishlist includes circling Wisconsin and Michigan around Lake Michigan. I hope to see these when I get to go.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 7 years ago

      Gorgeous photos - would love to visit again sometime.

    • profile image

      CofCJenny LM 7 years ago

      I absolutely love Door County, haven't been there in years though.

    • profile image

      CofCJenny LM 7 years ago

      I absolutely love Door County, haven't been there in years though.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      You always have the most beautiful Lighthouse photos and gifts. Until you, I had never really paid a lot of attention to lighthouses.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      @jptanabe: I am visiting that lighthouse tomorrow! It should be a blast. :))))

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      What a lovely lens and thanks for sharng your interest - I love lighthouses!

    • raegal75 profile image

      raegal75 8 years ago

      Beautiful lens! 5 *s

    • profile image

      Doradee 8 years ago

      Great lens! I love going to different places and exploring historical sites. Beautiful pictures!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Wow! Beautiful pictures!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Looks like a lovely place. When we were up in Minnesota this past summer, we kept saying we should leave some time to visit the next state over. We didn't make it there this time, but we hope to next year.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Yes, beautiful! That Port Washington pierhead lighthouse is so cool!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Dropped by for a visit to yet another delightful lighthouse lens.

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 8 years ago

      As always, another beautifully inspirational lens! The throw is gorgeous!

    • FunGifts4All profile image

      FunGifts4All 8 years ago

      That is a beautiful throw. Another great lens.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Thanks for adding this to my Plexo on Wisconsin - the 30th State Now it doesn't look so lonely.

      Great Door County lens. This is lensrolled back. 5*s

    • wayfarer lm profile image

      wayfarer lm 8 years ago

      Great lens! A nice lighthouse tour of Door County!

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 9 years ago

      Welcome to the Squidoo Skidoo Group, glad you joined!

    • profile image

      dianemcneil 9 years ago

      Lovely lens, thanks so much for your insight.

      FYI, the Door County Maritime Museum has sponsored a Lighthouse Tour each May. The dates have changed, so check out it's website for the new dates. I think they moved it to June.

      I live in Ellison Bay, so next time stop in our gallery: Ellison Bay Pottery, on Garrett Bay Rd. across from the Clearing.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 9 years ago

      Wow! What a fab lens on lighthouses -- we've seen a few and had the opportunity to capture them on film. Our friend Steve in California is a lighthouse nut and makes it a point to travel to see them. ;)

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Great lens with beautiful photography. Door County ought to use this as part of their publicity.

    • profile image

      rockycha 9 years ago

      Door County is so beautiful - great sunday brunch restaurant near Algoma too :) Love the lens!