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Rock of Ages Light
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Date Established: 1908
Date Present Tower Built: 1908
Date Automated: 1985
Height of Tower: 117 ft.
Height of Focal Plane: 130 ft.
Distance from You:
Open to Public?: No
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DescriptionRock of Ages sits atop an exposed strip of rock that juts above the surface of Lake Superior about 4.5 miles from the shoreline of Isle Royale. The rock is 50 feet wide at its widest and about 210 feet long, with the highest point of the rock about 16 feet above mean lake level.
Construction of the light was recommended in 1896, money was allocated by Congress in 1905 and 1906 and the light was completed in 1908, allowing ships to bypass the passage around the southern more weater exposed side of Isle Royale in favor of the safer route along the lea side of the island. The spark plug shaped tower is 50 feet in diameter at the base and stands 130 feet tall. The tower, now black and white was originally painted tan and housed a beautiful double bullseye clamshell Fresnel lens that is now on display in the Windigo Ranger Station on Isle Royale. The second order lens had a double flash signature when it was rotated.
The Rock of Ages light was unmanned in the winter and keepers frequently had to chip their way through ice clinging to the lighthouse in the spring to reman the light. This was one of the most remote duty stations on the Great Lakes.
The lens cannot be seen from land. Grand Portage Isle Royal Transportation Line launches out of Grand Portage, MN allow visitors to see the light en route to Isle Royale in the summer. Trips to the lighthouses of Isle Royale are also occasionally offered by the Keweenaw Star out of Houghton, Michigan.