Two Harbors Light
The Two Harbors Light is the oldest operating lighthouse in the US state of Minnesota. Overlooking Lake Superior's Agate Bay, the lighthouse is located in Two Harbors, Minnesota. The construction of the Lighthouse began in 1891. The construction of the lighthouse was completed in 1892, the first lighting of the Two Harbors light was on April 14, 1892.The first Two Harbors Keeper was Charles Lederle and there were normally three Keepers assigned to make sure the light was lit 24 hours a day. The Lighthouse was built to provide safe passage into the Agate Bay Harbor during the early 20th century, as Two Harbors was the major shipping point for the iron ores of the Mesabi Range, far surpassing Duluth in importance. The 49.6-foot (15.1 m) tower is made of red brick and the head keeper's residence is attached, it towers 78 feet (24 m) from the lake level to the top and in 12 feet (3.7 m) squared. The walls of the tower were built to be 3 bricks thick and the walls where the tower and house meet are a full 5 bricks thick. This was for the safety of the Keeper's family. The Two Harbors Lighthouse Station has a total of six structures, the Lighthouse Tower with the attached Keeper's Quarters, the Assistant Keeper's House, the Fog Horn Signal Building, the Oil House, the Skiffhouse and a garage. The lighthouse was originally equipped with a fourth order Fresnel lens, consisting of a series of mirrored prisms that rotated around a fixed flame supplied by oil. The Two Harbors Lighthouse continued to be operated by the U.S. Lighthouse Service until 1939 when the U.S. Coast Guard removed the Fresnel lens and replaced it with a 24" aerobeacon with two 1000-watt bulbs, one for back up, which are still used today. Each light shines an average of 17 miles (27 km). The original lens is now on display in the Inland Seas Maritime Museum. In 1987 the light was totally automated from the Duluth Coast Guard Station. The Lake County Historical Society began to provide tours of the Lighthouse Station in 1988 when it was granted a lease by the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1999 the Historical Society appealed to Congressman Oberstar and through a bill passed in Congress the ownership of the Two Harbors Lighthouse Station was transferred to the Lake County Historical Society. The Historical Society assumed responsibility from the U.S. Coast Guard for the operation of the light in 2001. Nowadays, the lighthouse is still designated as an active aid to navigation and is on navigational charts, as well as being a museum(three of the lighthouse station's buildings are open for visitors to tour: The Lighthouse Tower which has been restored and houses the rotating light, the Assistant Keeper's building which has been restored to the late 19th century era and had exhibits in Lake Superior shipwrecks, the development of Agate Bay and a kiosk with historical information on the area) and the Keeper's Quarters of the Lighthouse have been restored to the early 20th century era which the Lake County Historical Society operates as a bed and breakfast. Also, on the site is the Pilot house from the Frontenac ore bat, which contains an exhibit on its history and shipwrecks. The museum and bed and breakfast are operated by the Lake County Historical Society and the lantern is maintained by the United States Coast Guard. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.