Friends of Rock Island
Contact Address Information:
1924 Indian Point Rd
This was the first federal lighthouse station in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan. The site is part of Rock Island State Park. A new lantern was installed in 1999, replacing the one that was removed after the light was transferred to a nearby skeletal tower. The Friends of Rock Island plan to finish all interior work on the building by 2002.
Tower Height: 41
Height of Focal Plane: 137
Description of Tower: Square limestone tower on roof of keeper's dwelling.
This light is not operational
1858 integral two-story, limestone keeper's dwelling, oil house, privy.
1837: 30-foot stone tower.
Date Established: 1837
Date Present Tower Built: 1858
Date Deactivated: 1988
Date Automated: 1945
Optics: 1837: 11 oil lamps and 14-inch reflectors; 1858: Fourth order Fresnel lens.
Current Use: Under restoration.
Open To Public? Yes.
Tours of the lighthouse, including a climb to the new lantern room, are offered by a Friends of Rock Island volunteer every Friday (weather permitting) during the summer from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
After taking a 45-minute ferry ride to Washington Island from the mainland at Northport Pier, you need to drive about nine miles to Jackson Harbor on the north side of Washington Island. From there, take the 15-minute ride to Rock Island on the Karfi ferry. No cars are allowed on Rock Island, so you'll need to leave your car at the Jackson Harbor parking lot.
Listed on the
National Register of Historic Places
Keepers: David Corbin (1838-1852, died in service); Abraham Grover (Assistant, c. 1860s); Abraham Cupers (1866-1869); William Betts (1870-1886); James Fuller (Assistant, c. 1870); Emily Betts (Assistant, c. 1870-1886); Jesse Miner (1887-?); Charles Boshka (c. 1900-1911); Lawrence Brown (Assistant, c. 1900-1907); John Fitzgerald (Assistant, 1908-1922; Keeper 1922-1940); Ed Cornell (1912-1917); William Rooney (Assistant. c. 1928-1940); Earl Malloch (Assistant, c. 1928-1940); Ernie Lockhart (1941-1943).
Nearby Lodging: Campsites are available on Rock Island. Call (888) 947-2757 for reservations. The toll-free TTY number for reservations is (800) 274-7275.