Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society

The Lighthouse

Graphic demonstrating the size and location of the Rock of Ages Lighthouse

What is the Rock of Ages Lighthouse?

Built in 1908, Rock of Ages Lighthouse was one of the most powerful and remote lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Standing 137 feet tall, the light from the Rock of Ages could be seen from 29 miles away. The U.S. government undertook the project of building the lighthouse after two vessels, the Henry Chisholm and the Cumberland, struck the Rock of Ages reef and sunk. Keepers at the Rock of Ages would also play a key role in rescuing 127 passengers and crew from the George M. Cox in 1933, after it too ran aground on the reef in heavy fog. Rock of Ages was manned by 4 lighthouse keepers at a time from 1909 until 1978, when it was automated. To this day, the lighthouse acts as a valuable navigational aid for fisherman and visitors to Isle Royale National Park.

Where is the Rock of Ages Lighthouse?

Rock of Ages (47°52′00″N, 89°18′48″W) is located 4 miles outside of Washington Harbor in the open waters of lake Superior. The nearest harbor is Windigo Ranger Station, which is located at the southern end of Isle Royale National Park. The lighthouse is located in waters that belong to the park.

Map showing the location of the website.


By the Numbers

Year first lit:       1910

Automated:       1978

Construction:    Steel, Masonry, Concrete

Tower shape:    Cylindrical base/Frustum of a Cone tower

Original lens:    2nd Order bivalve Fresnel Lens

Current lens:    12-inch Tideland Signal ML-300 Acrylic Optic

Range:               15 nautical miles