#13 – Step into the 19th Century at the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

The original lighthouse was build in 1851. This is "the new one."

I thought our stop at the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse was going to be “just another lighthouse tour.” It turned out to be an unexpected surprise.

It’s a well-kept lighthouse, decked out with many of the things you’d expect to find in the 19th century (a phonograph, books… etc.) but this place has appeal beyond the usual lighthouse allure.  This old outpost also boasts a scenic overlook (the “Broken Thumb Observation Deck”) and three small museums that showcase different facets of the Keweenaw’s rich history.

My wife, daughter and I arrived before the lighthouse opened for the day, so we decided to hang out at the overlook for a while to take in the lovely Lake Superior shoreline. After that we meandered down to a rock outcropping that used to support a small supply dock. And by the time we’d explored the outside of the lighthouse itself, we were actually quite content with our visit. Right about then a nice Keweenaw Historical Society employee pulled in and opened up shop for the day.

At that point we happily laid down $5 each in order to search the lighthouse, peruse the grounds and poke our necks in the museums. We probably spent about an hour longer here than we’d anticipated. And quite happily, I might add.

I’m normally not much of a history buff but on the day of our visit I ended up lingering in one of the museums for a solid half an hour. One of the things that caught my eye was a letter written in 1897 by the wife of one of the lighthouse keepers. Here’s a little excerpt…

“I loved the water, having always been near it, and I loved to stand in the tower and watch the great rolling waves chasing and tumbling in upon the shore. It was hard to tell when it was the loveliest. Whether in its quiet moods or in a raging foam.”

Letter from the Keeper's Wife

Letter from the Keeper's Wife

It reads like a romance novel, eh? (Not that I read romance novels. No really, I don’t…) But I think anyone who’s met Lake Superior knows exactly how she felt.

Superior is a lake like no other, and as I stood by the shore and gazed up at the lighthouse tower, I pictured the keeper’s wife caring for the lantern on a dark and stormy night, as Mother Nature’s gusts slammed Superior’s waters into that very shoreline on which I stood.

Not bad for “just another lighthouse tour.” That’ll teach me.

To see more photos of the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, click here to access my Facebook page and then and then browse to the “Eagle Harbor Lighthouse” photo album. (You’ll need to “like” the page if you haven’t already)

Bottom Line: The Eagle Harbor Lighthouse is a must see if you’re at all interested in lighthouses, the history of the U.P., or scenic views of Lake Superior.

Other things to note: Open mid-June to early October. Noon to 5:00 or 10:00 to 5:00 depending on the month and day (Longer hours in July and August). $5.00/each for adults, children are free.

Website: www.keweenawhistory.org/Sites/Lighthouse.html

Phone: (906) 289-4990

Location: As you enter Eagle Harbor, follow the signs from M-26 to “Lighthouse/Museum.”

To see the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse’s location on my map of the Upper Peninsula, click here.

Next up >> #14 – Fall in Love with the Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore

Previous << #12 – Stay at the Bella Vista Motel & Cottages in Copper Harbor

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