Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Two Harbors Beacon – Keep the Light Lit

As one of the three historic sites operated by the Lake County Historical Society, the Two Harbors Lighthouse Museum will open Friday May 26th for the season! Welcoming over 5,000 visitors annually it provides a di­rect connection to the rich history of ship­ping on Lake Superior. For a more personal experience at the lighthouse, guests can be a keeper for an evening at the Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast which supports the Lake County Historical Society’s stewardship of the iconic landmark and mission to “Collect, Preserve, and share the stories of Lake County, Minne­sota.”

The Two Harbors Lighthouse, now operat­ed as a private aid to navigation, is the old­est continuously operating lighthouse on the North Shore of Lake Superior. As a recog­nizable landmark at Agate Bay for over 130 years, the historical society became stewards of the landmark in 1999. Currently, a flashing beacon on a 5-year loan from the United States Coast Guard provides a weak substitute for the warm rotational DCB-224 beacon which broke beyond repair in November 2019.

Initially the general estimate for the Sabik Marine Beacon was close to $55,000 when we requested a general quote for the project. This included two tiers of LED lights to project the light up to 20 nautical miles. In discussions with the Coast Guard about our flash signa­ture, pattern, and projection distance it was determined that the Two Harbors Lighthouse should project its signature for 10 nautical miles. The updated budget of $33,600 with a 20% contingency is a single tier of light which will match the updated signature approved by the Coast Guard for the light.

In addition to the manufacture and instal­lation of a new beacon, the Society will im­prove the beacon’s environment by replacing cracked panes at the top of the tower. The DCB 224 beacon, a refurbished airport bea­con, put out a lot of heat when in operation in the crow’s nest. Replacement of the panes of glass will further protect the new beacon and ensure longevity of the beacon. An addition­al $10,000 is budgeted to replace the panes of glass and baffle or deflect light from 65 degrees to 210 degrees to fit the flash signa­ture required for the lighthouse by the Coast Guard.

The Two Harbors Lighthouse is the most recognized symbol of the City of Two Har­bors. Located between Agate and Burling­ton Bays on Lake Superior, it provides a di­rect connection to the 138 years of Iron Ore Shipping on Lake Superior. Sabik Marine is a Finnish company that is one of the only rota­tional beacon manufacturers in the world. Due to the extreme customization of each beacon, lead time, and shipping dates the Society is waiting on an exact timing of the delivery of the new beacon. We are excited to have com­munity support from the project and are look­ing forward to planning a larger celebration once the light is here and installed. Commu­nity fundraising through t-shirt sales, small business and individual donations raised the initial $6,500 for the project. The Society would like to thank the Scooby Foundation ($18,000), the LaBounty Family Founda­tion ($5,500), Cleveland Cliffs Foundation ($5,000) which brought the Keep the Light Lit campaign to its goal of $35,000. In April, the Historical Society applied for and received a $8,600 grant from the Iron Range Resource and Rehabilitation Center’s Cultural Heritage Grant Program to fully fund the beacon re­placement project.

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