Each July 31 all of the staff at Split Rock Lighthouse anticipate the date as it is the anniversary of the first lighting of the Split Rock beacon by Keeper Orren “Pete” Young. That was 99 years ago! After the two-year restoration project on the light station buildings I think Pete Young would be amazed how good the place looks after all those years.
It is interesting to think that 100 years ago, on this date, at this location, this rock dome overlooking Lake Superior was abuzz with up to fifty men working hard six days a week to complete the construction of the light station by the end of the season. By July of 1910 the lighthouse was complete and the third-order Fresnel lens was in place. The last night of the month Keeper Young climbed the spiral staircase and lit the incandescent oil vapor lamp for the first time.
Tonight at sunset I will climb the steps in Keeper Young’s, and many other keeper’s footsteps and light the beacon for an hour at sunset. That is one big birthday candle!