Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
On June 23, 2011 U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the designation of Split Rock Light Station as a National Historic Landmark. Split Rock has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1969 but designation as a national landmark denotes a much higher level of historic significance.
During two world wars and beyond, Split Rock Light Station served as a vital aid to navigation to iron ore carriers carrying iron ore shipments across western Lake Superior from the vast iron ranges in northern Minnesota to the lower Great Lakes for processing. Split Rock is also a highly intact example of an early 20th century Great Lakes light station.
Split Rock is the twelfth light station in the United States and the second light station on the Great Lakes to receive national landmark designation. The light station, an active navigational aid from 1910 to 1969, is now a Minnesota state historic site and is open daily to the public for tours from mid-May through mid-October.
On July 31 round 5000 visitors shared celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first lighting of Split Rock Lighthouse. When a light station was designed for three lighthouse keepers and their families it is a challenge to find room for that many people to visit at one time.
With the help of shuttle busses from the adjoining state park parking lots and from nearby Gooseberry Falls State Park everyone was able to view the beacon lighting and the first-ever fireworks over the lighthouse.
A highlight of the evening was a past keeper reception in the visitor center. Twenty-four past residents, some lighthouse service, some coast guard, some Minnesota DNR and some Minnesota Historical Society employees, met to talk about the lives and experiences that they shared by living in the keeper’s dwellings at Split Rock.
The newest addition to “Split Rock” related product is a wine label created by Falconer Vineyards from Red Wing MN. The vineyard has created a custom label using the commissioned centennial art (done by Minnesota artist Jim Povich) for both a LaCrescent (white wine) and Frontenac (red wine). The wine was created using grapes hybridized by the University of Minnesota. While we are not selling the wine, it will be available at the vineyard in Red Wing, on line at www.falconervineyards.com and will also be for sale locally at the Silver Bay Municipal Liquor Store and will be served at Cove Point Lodge in Beaver Bay MN and Grand Superior Lodge in Castle Danger MN. For each bottle sold Falconer Vineyard will make a donation to Split Rock Lighthouse. Check it out!
Last Friday evening, May 7, we held the first “First Friday” evening event of the centennial summer celebrations at Split Rock Lighthouse. The northeast wind and spitting snow made it feel more like November than May but a lot of people showed up for the program by Dennis O’Hara, famed Duluth photographer, and for the beacon lighting at sunset. His website, www.northernimages.com is really worth looking at.
Of course it was so overcast on Friday that there was no “sunset” to speak of but I lit the beacon at 8:23, the official time of sunset on the North Shore, and kept it on for an hour. For those who want to get a look at the beacon lit we will be lighting it the first Friday of every month through November. The programs and speakers require tickets that can be ordered through the Split Rock website but the beacon lightings are open to the public and only require a state park vehicle permit.
Even though spring is coming very slowly this far north and this close to the big lake the animals are all ratcheting up their activity. For the fifth year in a row the same pair of ravens is nesting on the cliff right below the lighthouse. The young ravens just left the nest over the weekend but are sticking very close to ma and pa. The ruckus they make beginning at 5:00 a.m. is enough to get me up for a closer look as they cling to the birch trees at the top of the cliff. There is no sleeping once the ravens are up.
Usually the hummingbirds show up the first week in May so we have had the feeders out for a couple of weeks already. Should be soon. Now if that pesky northeast wind off the lake would simmer down we may be able to get some temps above the mid fifties.
During the centennial year we are having lots of special events! Check out the First Friday programs in our theater www.mnhs.org/splitrock The First Friday programs are listed under the Centennial Events and are on the first Friday of each month beginning in May and ending in November. The tickets are currently on sale and they are selling quickly. The beacon will also be lit on each of the First Fridays. View the beacon lighting at dusk whether you attend the program or not. In addition to the First Friday programs the Visitor Center and Museum Store will be open until 9 PM, but only on the First Friday evenings. Check out the limited edition product to commemorate this special year!