Split Rock Lighthouse Print
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- By: Mark Herman
- Format: Lithographic print on acid free paper
- Usually ships in: 2 to 4 business days
In the early years of the 20th century, iron ore shipments on Lake Superior doubled and redoubled. United States Steel's bulk ore carriers became "the greatest exclusive freight-carrying fleet sailing under one ownership in the world," so the demand for a new lighthouse on the lake's inhospitable North Shore was hardly surprising. A single storm on Nov. 28, 1905, damaged 29 ships, fully one third of which were the uninsured property of the steel company fleet. Two of these carriers foundered on this rocky coastline, which some called "the most dangerous piece of water in the world." A delegation led by the steamship company president descended upon Washington, D.C., and in early 1907, Congress appropriated $75,000 for a lighthouse and fog signal in the vicinity of Split Rock.
The U. S. Lighthouse Service completed the 7.6-acre facility in 1910 and operated it until 1939, when the U.S. Coast Guard took command. By that time, Split Rock's picturesque setting near the North Shore highway, built in 1924, had made it "probably the most visited lighthouse in the United States." The station closed in 1969, when modern navigational equipment made it obsolete, and the State of Minnesota obtained the scenic landmark in 1971. The Minnesota Historical Society now administers the 25-acre historic site and is restoring it to its pre-1924 appearance — a time when the isolated light station was accessible only by water. Visit Split Rock Lighthouse.