Pilot Island Lighthouse

The Pilot Island lighthouse is a lighthouse located near Gills Rock, on Pilot Island, in Door County, Wisconsin.

The building's plant is similar to Pottawatomie Light, but this is brick instead of stone. Until 1910 it called Port des Morts Island Light. The original fog signal building was converted to a second assistant lighthouse keeper's residence in 1900.

Frequent and oppressive fog made the passage hazardous; and also made duty at the light to be considered a hardship in an extremely lonely and forbidding place. A fog bell signal was installed in 1862. In 1864 it was replaced by a foghorn. In 1875 it was converted to a steam powered fog siren. In 1880 a separate fog building was built for a "duplicate" fog siren. This began a ten inch steam whistle and new building in 1900 (which still exists near water's edge). In 1904, there came a realization that the whisltles were "less than effective' and they were replaced by dual diaphones. The horns made living there difficult; fertilized eggs would be destroyed by the sounds.

Nearby Plum Island and this island are two of four Wisconsin properties turned over in recent years by the U.S. Coast Guard to the United States Bureau of Land Management. the BLM is working to find new qualified owners, who would abe required to for the properties. The Coast Guard and BLM require the new stewards to maintain the buildings.

It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 as the Pilot Island Light, reference #83004279.

It is currently "abandoned, overgrown, and overrun" by a large cormorant population.

Getting there

This Lighthouse can be seen at a distance from the Northport-Washington Island ferry. Excursions that go near the island are offered during an annual Door County Lighthouse Walk sponsored by the Door County Maritime Museum, and by Shoreline Resort in Gills Rock, Wisconsin.

The lighthouse is owned by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. The grounds, dwelling and tower are closed.

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