(One of) The Plum Island Range Lights
4639 Orchard Road, Plum Island, USA
(One of) The Plum Island Range Lights Reviews
(One of) The Plum Island Range Lights Aug 30, 2008
While preparing to shoot across Death's Door to the Wisconsin mainland, I noticed a light tower and paddled to it. Unbeknown to me, I was gawking at the rear Plum Island Range Light. The white cylindrical tower stood 60 feet and had four steel supports angled to the ground to stabilize an 8-foot diameter galley sitting on top of it. A smaller lantern room perched on top of that. Its red light glows continuous, day and night at a focal plane of eighty feet.
Out of my view, a front range light was located 1600 feet away on the lakeshore with a focal plane of 41 feet. That light is also red but flashes 3 seconds on and three seconds off. Mariners on Lake Michigan line up with the two lights for a safe route to the eastern entrance of the Porte des Morts Passage on a heading of 330 degrees.
Plum Island Range Lights have operated since May 1, 1897. The lights were automated in 1964 and the nearby light-keepers house, abandoned since then, is in dire need of repair. With ownership of Plum Island recently transferred from the Coast Guard to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, its restoration may become a reality in the future.
The rear Plum Island Range Light can be seen from the Washington Island Ferry or, up closer by charter boat operators out of Gills Rock who offer narrated lighthouse cruises. Also, the Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society hosts their Annual Lighthouse Walk on one weekend each May - visitors can tour some of the lighthouses that are not normally open to the public .
Part of the The Washington Island Expedition travel blog
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