The Two Harbors Light is the oldest operating lighthouse in the US state of Minnesota. The construction of the Lighthouse began in 1891 and the first lighting of the Two Harbors light was on April 14, 1892. There were normally three Keepers assigned to make sure the light was lit 24 hours a day. The Lighthouse was built to provide safe passage into the Agate Bay Harbor during the early 20th century, as Two Harbors was the major shipping point for the iron ores of the Mesabi Range, far surpassing Duluth in importance.
The 49.6-foot tower is made of red brick and the head keeper's residence is attached. It towers 78 feet from the lake level to the top. The walls of the tower were built to be 3 bricks thick and the walls where the tower and house meet are a full 5 bricks thick. This was for the safety of the Keeper's family. The Two Harbors Lighthouse Station has a total of six structures, the Lighthouse Tower with the attached Keeper's Quarters, the Assistant Keeper's House, the Fog Horn Signal Building, the Oil House, the Skiffhouse and a garage.
The lighthouse was originally equipped with a fourth order Fresnel lens, consisting of a series of mirrored prisms that rotated around a fixed flame supplied by oil. The Two Harbors Lighthouse continued to be operated by the U.S. Lighthouse Service until 1939 when the U.S. Coast Guard removed the Fresnel lens and replaced it with a 24"" aerobeacon with two 1000-watt bulbs (one for back up) which are still used today. Each light shines an average of 17 miles. The original lens is now on display in the Inland Seas Maritime Museum.
In 1987 the light was totally automated from the Duluth Coast Guard Station. The Lake County Historical Society began to provide tours of the Lighthouse Station in 1988 when it was granted a lease by the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1999 the ownership of the Two Harbors Lighthouse Station was transferred to the Lake County Historical Society. The Historical Society assumed responsibility from the U.S. Coast Guard for the operation of the light in 2001.
The lighthouse is still designated as an active aid to navigation and is on navigational charts, as well as being a museum maintained by the United States Coast Guard. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Location: Overlooking Lake Superior's Agate Bay in Two Harbors
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