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Last week, I featured the historic Split Rock Lighthouse on the north shore of Lake Superior. For those of you not familiar with US (or Canadian) geography, the Great Lakes are one of the world’s largest surface freshwater ecosystems (1). Lake Superior is the largest and westernmost of the five Great Lakes.
I mentioned in the post about the lighthouse that when it was built, there was no road servicing the area. The material for the lighthouse and other buildings was transported by ship and lifted ~130′ (40m) by a steam hoist and derrick system. One person asked how they got the hoist to the top. They put it on skids, and it pulled itself up the cliff. When the lighthouse became operational, it needed a keeper. Of course, there was still no road.
“It takes more than a big light bulb to operate a lighthouse. Comprised of 25 acres, the Split Rock Lighthouse historic site also includes the original fog signal building, oil house, and one of the original homes occupied by a lighthouse keeper and his family.”Minnesota Historical Society
The buildings mentioned in the quote have all been restored, and some are open for viewing by tourists. The fog signal building was included in last week’s post. This week, I am featuring the home of the lighthouse keeper. Keep in mind that the average temperature in Two Harbors, Minnesota (the closest town) in January is comprised of highs of 23°f (-5°c) and lows of 6°f (-14°c). Imagine working in those conditions, with only a weekly visit from a supply ship (which you had to unload from the surface, 130 feet below).
The lighthouse keeper’s house is preserved much as it would have been in the early 1900s. It was fun to walk through. As I walked in, I noticed the distinct smell of bread baking in the cast iron stove in the kitchen. The self-guided tour was short, but it felt like I had stepped back in time.
I hope you enjoy the photos in the gallery. There are many doors, but other photos as well. Try to imagine the scene – it’s pitch black, except for the beam from the lamp rotating every 10 seconds well above your house. It’s eerily quiet, unless the fog signal is active (that can be heard for five miles). It’s well below freezing outside. It might be snowing; the area receives 58.3″(147cm) of snow in an average winter. Your job is to keep the lamp lit to prevent ships carrying iron ore from crashing into the rocks below.
I am using a Block Gallery (which seems to be improved) Captions are available by clicking on any photo and starting a slideshow (you might have to click the little ‘i’ in the circle to turn on full captions).
1) US Environmental Protection Agency website.
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